Canadian firm enlisted to help SMR development in Estonia

April 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

From left: Kalev Kallemets, chief executive officer of Fermi Energia, and James Lauritsen, managing director of Laurentis Energy Partners. (Photo: Fermi Energia)

Laurentis Energy Partners will work with Fermi Energia to support the development of small modular reactors in Estonia, the companies announced yesterday at the 2022 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference being held in Ottawa, Ontario.

A subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Laurentis bills itself as a provider of SMR services throughout the development life cycle, from feasibility and planning through construction, commissioning, and operations. Fermi Energia is an Estonian energy company focused on SMR development and deployment.

What they’re saying: “Building on our owner’s engineer and nuclear management experience, Laurentis is pleased to work with Fermi Energia to provide an opportunity for Estonia to confidently introduce SMRs into their energy mix,” stated Jason Van Wart, vice president of Laurentis.

Kalev Kallemets, cofounder and chief executive officer of Fermi Energia, said, “OPG’s excellence as a nuclear energy utility and their selection of GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 to be deployed at Darlington is a world-leading SMR project. Through this agreement, Fermi Energia will cooperate closely with Laurentis Energy Partners to develop an efficient and reliable SMR deployment program that will lead to successful licensing and financing of multiple SMR units in Estonia to ensure affordable energy independence and decarbonization leadership of our region. Nuclear energy is clean and carbon-free, which is why the European Union has concluded it meets the criteria for sustainable financing.”

Background: According to the International Energy Association, most of Estonia’s energy comes from domestically produced shale oil, giving the Baltic state a significant degree of energy independence, but also the highest carbon intensity among all IEA countries. In early 2021, the Estonian government announced plans to halt the production of shale oil by 2035 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Fermi Energia has been pondering the development and deployment of SMRs since 2019, when it launched a feasibility study on the suitability of the technology for Estonia’s electricity supply. The study included four reactor designs: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300, Moltex Energy’s SSR-W300, NuScale’s Power Module, and Terrestrial Energy’s IMSR-400.

Later in 2019, Fermi Energia and GE Hitachi signed a memorandum of understanding to take a closer look at the BWRX-300. An additional agreement between the two companies to support the potential deployment of the BWRX-300 reactor was signed in March 2021.

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