We source fuels responsibly
The most significant environmental impact of our supply chain is caused by fuels - coal and biomasses in particular. This is why we pay special attention to the origin and responsible production of the fuel.
The most significant fuel in electricity and heat production is natural gas. The next highest fuel use is uranium and coal. Russia accounts for 98% of our use of natural gas and 51% of our use of coal. In the implementation of our new strategy, we will maximise the added value from waste and biomass.
The natural gas used in our power plants in Russia, the Baltic countries and Finland originates from several suppliers in Russia. The natural gas used in Poland is mainly purchased from Poland.
Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse gases and other flue-gas emissions with relation to produced energy, therefore it doesn't contain sulphur and generates only minimal particle emissions. Nitrogen oxide emissions can be decreased with combustion technology. Potential leaks from gas pipelines have an impact on the climate because natural gas is almost 100% methane, which is a greenhouse gas worse than carbon dioxide.
The coal used in our power plants in Finland originates from Russia. The coal used in Poland originates mainly from Poland. The power plants in Russia use coal originating from Russia and Kazakhstan.
Coal has big environmental impacts because of the carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particle emissions. However, various combustion and flue-gas cleaning technologies can decrease the sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particle emissions to levels within the regulatory requirements. Viable technology for separating carbon dioxide from flue gases is not available for the time being.
Coal mining is a large-scale operation. Safety is an important issue in underground coal mines due to the risk of methane gas explosions, for example.
We are a member of the Bettercoal initiative and use the Bettercoal Code and tools in assessing the sustainability of the coal supply chain. The Bettercoal vision is a coal supply chain that respects the rights of people and the environment, and contributes positively to the social and economic livelihoods of workers, producers and communities.
The biomass we use in our power plants in Finland, the Baltics and Poland mainly consists of locally sourced wood chips and industrial wood residues. Some biomass is also sourced from Russia.
When used in a sustainable manner, biofuels mitigate climate change: new biomass is cultivated to replace the incinerated biomass, which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Biofuels generate about the same amount of nitrogen oxide and particle emissions as coal, but, in general, less sulphur dioxide emissions.
About 60% of the forest biomass used by Fortum originates from certified, sustainably managed forests or from the sphere of the FSC Controlled Wood system. The share is over 80% in Finland. Our goal is that 80% of all forest biomass we use is verified by a third party by the end of 2020.
We operate hazardous waste treatment and combustion plants in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. In addition, we burn municipal waste in Lithuania, and industrial wood-based waste in Finland.
We believe that waste-to-energy production is an essential part of a sustainable waste management system. Waste-derived fuels can be used to replace fossil fuels and, at the same time, reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfills.
Strict limits have been set for flue-gas emissions from waste incineration, and the ash has to be treated properly.
Fortum HorsePower is a service concept in which Fortum delivers bedding to horse stables and picks up the bedding-manure mixture for combustion. We combust the bedding-manure mixture at the Järvenpää power plant, and has been delivered also to other energy companies.
Peat is combusted in Finland and in Estonia, where it is a domestic energy source.
Peat is treated in the same way as fossil fuels in climate policy. Peat-based fuel generates more greenhouse gas emissions than coal.
In addition to carbon dioxide, peat combustion also releases sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides as well as particles. Some methane is formed during the storage of peat.
Oil is used mainly in the start-up phase of power plants and in small heat boilers. Oil is a fossil fuel, so its environmental impacts are comparable to those of coal.
A bio-oil production plant has been integrated with the Joensuu combined heat and power (CHP) plant. Bio-oil raw materials include forest residues and other wood-based biomass, and thus it is a renewable energy.
We use majority of bio-oil at our own heat plants to replace heavy fuel oil. In the future, bio-oil can also be used as a raw material for various biochemicals or traffic fuels.
The use of bio-oil in energy production reduces greenhouse emissions by more than 70% compared to fossil fuels.
The fuel assemblies used at the Loviisa power plant in Finland are completely of Russian origin. The fuel supplier acquires the uranium used in the fuel assemblies from Russian mines in accordance with Fortum’s agreement. In 2016, the uranium originated from the Krasnokamensk, Khiagda and Dalur mines.
Mining and enrichment of uranium ore are comparable to any mining activity. Due to the radioactive activity of uranium, special attention is paid to the handling and storage of residual waste to minimize environmental impacts
Both ARMZ Uranium Holding Co., a uranium producer, and TVEL, which is responsible for refining and manufacturing uranium, have environmental and occupational safety systems in place in all their plants. All three uranium mines have ISO 14001 environmental certification. The Khiagda mine has also an OHSAS 18001 certified occupational health and safety management system. The zirconium material manufacturing plant and the plant responsible for manufacturing uranium oxide pellets and fuel assemblies have ISO 14001 environmental management system certification and OHSAS 18001 occupational health and safety management system certifications.
We regularly assess the quality, environmental, and occupational health and safety management systems of our nuclear fuel suppliers and the manufacturing of nuclear fuel assemblies. In 2016, Fortum’s representatives assessed the operations of Fortum’s Russian fuel supplier’s uranium enrichment plant. The plant was in good condition technically, and its quality, environmental, occupational health and safety management systems were certified.
The spent fuel removed from a nuclear reactor is highly radioactive waste, which is initially stored in a controlled environment at the power plant. Loviisa power plant’s spent nuclear fuel will eventually be disposed of in Posiva’s final repository under construction in Olkiluoto in Eurajoki.