Environmental associations: Nuclear plant would entail significant risks

Location of nuclear power plants in the Baltic Sea region.
Location of nuclear power plants in the Baltic Sea region. Source: ERR

The Estonian Council of Environmental NGOs (EKO) finds the establishment of a nuclear power plant in Estonia would entail significant risks.

The EKO said establishing a Generation III+ small reactor in Estonia would add to environmental problems, not help resolve them and would need to operate for at least 40 years to pay back the investment. There should be further investment on renewable energy solutions instead, the NGO believe.  

The operation of a Generation III+ module reactor, which the company Fermi Energia is planning to establish in Estonia, would require the country to start depositing radioactive waste of life-threatening radiation levels, whose safety Estonia would have to ensure at its own expense for thousands of years, EKO said. 

History also shows the danger of large-scale accidents always continues to be present in Generation II and III power plants. Although there are plants in Estonia's neighborhood already now, the establishment of a new local plant would increase the risk of accidents further, EKO said.  

To keep the new plant running, Estonia would need to import nuclear fuel, technology and know-how. That would put Estonia in a constant dependence on external suppliers, the NGO said.

EKO said the establishment of a plant would mean more for the state than just the issuance of a construction permit. It entails a need for rearrangements and finding of resources in several areas starting with new laws and training of officials, and ending with the establishment of a safety infrastructure and creating initial awareness in residents.

Considering the risks and the fact that more environment-friendly and safer alternatives exist, EKO is not in favor of the establishment of a plant in Estonia on the planned terms. EKO said it will consider a review of its stance when Generation IV nuclear plants effectively proven to be safe, which recycle nuclear waste, have been established in the world.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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