The government in its cabinet seat on Thursday discussed options for the introduction of nuclear power generation in Estonia and decided that a national working group on nuclear power needs to be established to develop a stance on the issue, LETA / BNS reported.
So far, no decisions on the introduction of nuclear power have been taken at the state level in Estonia, as thorough preparatory work must be carried out beforehand. With the help of foreign experts, the working group will analyze the possibility of introducing nuclear energy in Estonia and present its conclusions and proposals to the government.
In-depth analysis of the impact of nuclear adoption will help the state make a prudent and informed decision, government spokesmen said.
“One of the possible solutions to increase energy security, sustainability and competitiveness in Estonia and to achieve the climate targets for 2050 is the commissioning of nuclear energy after 2030”, said Prime Minister Juri Ratas, describing it as one of many possibilities for climate-neutral energy production in Estonia. This deserves a broad discussion in society and definitely in-depth analysis in order to make further decisions.
The main reason why the introduction of nuclear energy is being discussed in Estonia is that, as an energy source with a low carbon footprint, it could help achieve the Estonian climate targets for 2050. Another benefit of nuclear power is the ability to provide rounding. Energy supply around the clock regardless of the weather conditions. One of the disadvantages is the time and resource intensive process of commissioning nuclear power.
Environment Minister Rene Kokk said that the introduction of nuclear energy would help ensure Estonia’s energy security, while the state would require significant investment in the construction and operation of the facility and a long lead time.
Kokk said that in addition to generating energy, a nuclear power plant can also be used to heat buildings and some technologies can also produce hydrogen. At the same time, the construction of a nuclear power plant harbors several safety and political risks. The question of what to do with spent fuel, the handling and storage of which is complex and would require the establishment of a special repository in Estonia, is also important.
The commissioning of nuclear energy requires preparatory measures that last at least 10-15 years. Therefore, the first nuclear power plant in Estonia could definitely not start working before 2035.
In Estonia, there is currently a lack of the legal framework, the responsible institutions and experts for the construction of N plants. According to the Radiation Act, a license for radiation practice for the operation of a new nuclear facility can only be applied for after the Riigikogu has made a decision on the commissioning of a nuclear facility.
As it is not currently known whether Estonia could get a nuclear power plant in the future or what technology it would use, the needs for the storage of nuclear waste generated by such a power plant are also unknown.
The radioactive waste storage facility to be built in Estonia for the dismantling and safe storage of the training reactors of a former training facility for Soviet submarine crews in Paldiski will not be suitable for the storage of nuclear fuel.
Since the decision to start using nuclear power is of great importance to the public, it is very important for people to have the opportunity to have their say. Whether the public will be involved in the form of a referendum or some other form will become clear as the analysis progresses.
The working group is convened by the Ministry of the Environment in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Communication and other relevant ministries.
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