US-based Last Energy invests in Estonian SMR project

18 June 2020

US-based risk investor Last Energy has made an undisclosed investment in Fermi Energia, which is planning to build a small modular reactor (SMR) in Estonia.

“The Last Energy investment, together with the contribution of Estonian investors made during 2020, will help to conduct research to find the best location for the plant and on licensing and construction processes," Fermi Energia said.

"The studies will be carried out by Fermi Energia's partners Fortum, Vattenfall and Tractebel in cooperation with Estonian experts, and the results will be completed by January 2021," noted Fermi Energia CEO Kalev Kallemets. He said extensive analyses would precede construction of the plant and had already given confidence that in the future a nuclear power plant with a SMR could offer cheaper and more environmentally friendly industrial steam and district heating than gas or biomass boilers.

"Considering the EU's climate neutrality goal and the separation of the Baltic States from the Russian electricity system from 2025, Fermi Energia will continue the activities necessary for the commissioning of a small modular reactor to ensure maximum benefits for Estonia, residents, energy consumers and investors," said Kallemets.

Last Energy is a venture capital fund set up in early 2020 by the Energy Impact Center, a research institute in Washington that studies the reversal of climate change. Bret Kugelmass, the head of the company, is a technology and robotics expert working in the fields of climate and energy. Kugelmass emphasised that nuclear energy was the only technology capable of producing virtually carbon-free electricity to meet growing global energy demand. According to Kugelmass, the world needs 100 times more nuclear energy to achieve its climate goals than it currently has in production.

Last Energy acts as an intermediary between researchers in private capital markets and SMR development opportunities around the world, investing in companies that introduce new reactor technologies.

Fermi Energia was founded by Estonian nuclear and energy specialists, the aim of which is to study and prepare for the introduction of a new generation SMR in Estonia at the end of the 2020s. The utility outlined its plans in the New Energy Generation conference in Tallinn earlier this year.

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