Professor: Estonia could produce nuclear energy with neighbors

Professor Alar Konist.
Professor Alar Konist. Source: TalTech

Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) energy technology department professor Alar Konist said the Estonian energy system requires different production methods to operate, one of which could be a nuclear plant. There are several ways to develop one.

Nuclear energy production has been a topic of discussion for both the Riigikogu's economic affairs committee and the government's committee on economic affairs.

Riigikogu economic affairs committee chair Kristen Michal (Reform) told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Wednesday evening that if it turns out that nuclear energy is suitable for Estonia's energy portfolio, developing a plant can be debated. "We can discuss where it fits, who the parties involved are, who will operate it," Michal said.

Developing a nuclear plant would mean that Estonia has to become a nuclear state, meaning the country should also have the respective skills and rights.

TalTech energy technology department professor Alar Konist said preparations for nuclear power would take at least 15 years, because Estonia lacks the necessary legislation and specialists would have to be trained.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas (Center) said an option would be to involve other countries. "The results of the work these committees do would give us answers if it is even reasonable to develop a plant alone. Because if we take into consideration that our legislation does not support it, we should look if and how reasonable it is to develop a plant in Estonia," Aas said.

Alar Konist noted that one option could be to produce nuclear energy alongside neighboring countries, such as Finland, where Estonia would be a co-investor and the plant would be located in Finland.

This plan requires Estonia's northern neighbor to have interest, however. "We can see today that there are physical restrictions between Finland and Sweden and there have now been opposite restrictions between Norway and Sweden. I think in that context, Finland could be interested in additional production capacities," Konist said.

The professor said other options should also be considered in Estonia. "We must look at it from the system's perspective. A nuclear plant offers us base capacity and base loads, it helps ensure frequency, but we cannot change capacities as quickly and to the extent that we need for the network to function correctly. This means we should look at alternatives to go with nuclear plants," Konist said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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