The Estonian government has decided to establish a national Working Group to consider the introduction of nuclear power generation.
The group will analyse - with the help of foreign experts - the possibility of introducing nuclear energy in Estonia and will present its conclusions and proposals to the government. The in-depth analysis of the impacts of the introduction of nuclear energy will help the state to make a prudent and informed decision, a government spokesperson said.
"One of potential solutions for increasing Estonia's energy security, sustainability and competitiveness and achieving the 2050 climate goals is commissioning of nuclear energy after 2030," Prime Minister Juri Ratas said, describing it as one of many possibilities for climate neutral energy production in Estonia.
Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk said the introduction of nuclear energy would help to ensure the energy security of Estonia, but would require major investments from the state in the construction and operation of the plant, as well as a long period of preparation.
Kokk noted that, as well as energy production, a nuclear plant could be used for heating and hydrogen production. At the same time, the establishment of a nuclear power plant entails several security and political risks. Also the question what to do with used nuclear fuel, the handling and storage of which is complex and would require the establishment of a special storage facility in Estonia, is important, he added.
Implementation of nuclear energy requires preparatory activities taking at least 10-15 years which means no nuclear power plant could be operating before 2035. Estonia currently lacks the legislative framework, competent institutions, as well as experts for the establishment of nuclear plants. Under the Radiation Act, a radiation practice licence for the operation of a new nuclear facility could be applied for only after parliament adopts a decision on the commissioning of a nuclear facility.
The working group will be convened by the Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and other relevant ministries.