Jani Halinen, the new head of VTT's Nuclear Energy research area: “Nuclear power has an important role to play as part of the low-carbon energy system of the future.”


Jani Halinen, PhD, started as Vice President of VTT’s Nuclear Energy research area on 2 January 2024. Halinen, who has had a long career in the energy sector, brings with him diverse and international experience. The role of nuclear power as part of the future energy system is important in the drive towards carbon-free energy production to mitigate climate change.

40% of Finland's electricity production comes from nuclear energy. According to Jani Halinen, it is important to think about the pieces of the energy system from which we want to build the future energy system, so that it serves Finnish society in the best possible way.

"Finland has long seen that the use of nuclear energy is in the overall interest of society as we strive for low-carbon energy production. Of course, the energy sector is constantly changing, and new solutions are being explored all the time, including in nuclear energy. However, it is important to think about how all the pieces can fit together to provide consumers with sustainable and affordable electricity with guaranteed security of supply,” says Halinen.

Halinen knows the challenges and opportunities of nuclear power. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Oulu and is currently working on his second PhD in economics. He has worked at Fortum for 17 years, mainly in nuclear power, in charge of research programmes and business development projects in this field. Up to 2023, Halinen was responsible for the strategy and development of Valmet's global energy business. He has also served on the board of the Forsmark nuclear power plant, among other roles.

“I've been involved in nuclear power for 20 years. During this time, I’ve become familiar with nuclear energy issues from all sides, from engineering and project management to promotion of interests and strategic organisational development. The most exotic assignment has probably been the audit of uranium mines in Kazakhstan,” says Halinen.

A relationship with VTT has been a constant companion in Halinen's career, as VTT has been an important partner for both Fortum and Valmet. According to Jussi Manninen, Executive Vice President of VTT's Carbon Neutral Solutions business area, nuclear energy is of particular interest right now and Halinen has the vision to develop the research area further.

“The nuclear sector is investing heavily in new technologies such as small modular reactors and fusion, which makes this sector particularly interesting for an innovator like us right now. In addition to his strong expertise in the subject matter, Jani Halinen brings us important business insight and a customer perspective,” he says. 

Finland at the forefront of safe nuclear energy

VTT has been involved in the development of the Finnish nuclear power sector since its early days. VTT supports the operational activities and technological development of existing facilities.

“Finland has solid experience and expertise in the safe and economic use of nuclear energy. Finland has been a pioneer in the final disposal of nuclear waste, and we have been making responsible preparations for this from the very beginning,” says Halinen.

According to Halinen, VTT has an important role to play in providing factual information to support decision-making and innovations to reform the industry.

“We live in a world where things are often presented from a very narrow perspective. As an independent and impartial actor, VTT has an important role to play in such an environment. VTT's work serves not only industry but also the authorities, and is opening up new opportunities for the commercialisation of Finnish know-how and technology and its transfer to international markets,” says Halinen. 

Jani Halinen
Jani Halinen
Vice President