NuScale signs MOU to explore advanced nuclear in Estonia

August 26, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Artistic rendering of a NuScale nuclear power plant. (Image: NuScale Power)

NuScale Power yesterday announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Estonia’s Fermi Energia, a company focused on small modular reactor development to address the Baltic state’s climate and energy security goals.

Under the MOU, Fermi Energia will evaluate the Portland, Ore. – based firm’s small modular reactor design for deployment in Estonia. (There are no nuclear power facilities in Estonia or in the other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania.)

Words from the sponsors: “Considering the geopolitics of today, this agreement builds upon the existing momentum and strong interest from the international community who are looking to NuScale’s SMR technology as the premier, flexible, and cost-competitive climate solution,” said John Hopkins, NuScale’s president and chief executive officer. “NuScale looks forward to working with Fermi Energia as they evaluate how our SMRs can become a key component of Estonia’s energy future.”

Kalev Kallemets, Fermi Energia’s cofounder and CEO, said that SMRs “fit better into the electricity grid, are more flexible and economical to operate, and meet stricter safety requirements than the existing nuclear plants.” He added that before selecting the most suitable SMR technology for Estonia, the company “will conduct a comprehensive analysis and evaluate which of the small reactors that will become market-ready in the near future best meets Estonia’s needs to produce CO2-free energy year-round, in any weather, at an affordable price.”

Background: According to the International Energy Agency, most of Estonia’s energy comes from domestically produced shale oil, giving it 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.

In 2019, Fermi Energia launched a feasibility study on the suitability of SMR 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 that year, Fermi Energia and GE Hitachi signed an MOU to take a closer look at the BWRX-300. An additional pact between the two companies to support the potential deployment of the BWRX-300 reactor was signed in March 2021.

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