Vattenfall involved in Estonian study on SMRs

19 March 2020

Swedish utility Vattenfall is participating in a study on the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in Estonia. In January, Estonia's Fermi Energia signed Memoranda of Understanding with Finnish power company Fortum and Belgian engineering firm Tractebel to cooperate on the study.

A plant based on Moltex's Stable Salt Reactor, one of the SMR designs under consideration in the study (Image: Moltex Energy)

Among other things, the pilot study will investigate how far the development of SMR technology has progressed, cost conditions, licensing and, in general, what future there might be for such a reactor in the Baltic country. "Everyone participating in the pilot study work is contributing their skills and in exchange gaining more knowledge of how SMR technology could work in practice," Vattenfall said.

"This is a way for us to understand how far the development of SMR technology has come," said Torbjörn Wahlborg, head of Vattenfall's Business Area Generation. "Estonian electricity generation is based to a large extent on oil shale, which is the most carbon-dioxide intensive raw material that exists. A shift in Estonia's electricity generation would be an important climate measure for the whole EU."

Mats Ladeborn, head of the fleet development department in Vattenfall's nuclear power operations, added: "Fossil-free is a watchword for everything we do. Nuclear power has very low carbon dioxide emissions and can contribute to reducing the use of fossil fuels in the EU. The development of small-scale nuclear reactors looks promising for us, and of course it's interesting to follow technological developments in all the types of power sources we ourselves use for generating electricity."

Fermi Energia was founded by Estonian energy and nuclear energy professionals to develop deployment of SMRs in Estonia. The company in July last year launched a feasibility study on the suitability of SMRs for Estonia's electricity supply and climate goals beyond 2030, following a financing round from investors and shareholders. It said it had selected four innovative SMR designs to be included in the feasibility study: Moltex Energy SSR-W300, Terrestrial Energy IMSR-400, GE Hitachi BWRX-300 and NuScale SMR.

All studies are expected to be completed by the end of this year and will be released in early-2021.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News