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President calls nuclear "just an aspirin"

Electricity suppliers in Finland will be required to buy a minimum amount of power generated by wind and other renewable energy plant at set prices for a fixed period of ten to 15 years if the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MTI) decides to act on a policy proposal it is now examining. "We see this as important if we are to encourage more investment in wind energy production and biofuels," says Taisto Turunen, director general of MTI's energy policy department. MTI is looking to Germany and Denmark for suitable models on which to base its program, adds Turunen. Meanwhile, Finland's president, Tarja Halonen, has called on policy makers to regard nuclear power as a "short-term option" and instead plan to "dramatically increase" investments in wind and biofuels. Talking to the energy committee of the Eduskanta (parliament), she said: "Nuclear power offers no permanent solution to climate change." It is "just an aspirin, a short term medicine. It should not distract focus away from developing wind and other renewable energy and reducing energy consumption." Halonen rejects the need for a sixth nuclear reactor in Finland. While nuclear can reduce carbon emissions, it has negative side effects, including the cost associated with safe containment and disposal. Her views on nuclear are not shared by prime minister Matti Vanhanen and his centre-led government.

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