Lemmit Kaplinski, a member of the SDE's leadership and a deputy mayor of Tartu has expressed his support for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Estonia. Kaplinski pledged to continue working to persuade the rest of his party to take up a similar position on the issue.
" (ETV current affairs show) 'Aktuaalne Kaamera' reported that the Social Democrats are the only parliamentary party opposed to the construction of a nuclear power plant in Estonia. This statement is not entirely correct and is based on decisions made previously, which have not been reviewed by the current leadership," Kaplinksi wrote on social media.
"Among the Social Democrats, they are very different views. I, and many others, clearly understand that there are no reasonable alternatives to a nuclear power plant," Kaplinski said.
According to Kaplinski, nuclear energy is a clean, cheap and safe way of generating electricity.
"There are a lot of talented and smart people in Estonia who are ready to go ahead with the preparation and construction of the plant. I trust the Estonian people, I trust our wisdom and sense of responsibility. I will continue to work on this, in order that soon I will hear the news that all parliamentary parties support the construction of a nuclear power plant in Estonia!" Kaplinksi wrote.
Kaplinksi then put forward five main points to support his argument.
First, from an environmental perspective, a nuclear power plant would be the best way to generate electricity, as it requires the least amount of mineral resources to achieve capacity.
"A plant which takes up a few hectares (of land) can cater for a significant proportion of Estonia's consumption need, while also leaving room for nature and people," he said.
His second point highlighted that, even when taking into account high-profile accidents which have occurred in the past, nuclear energy is historically the safest way to generate electricity. "Modern-day reactors have advanced safety measures and passive cooling systems, so in the event of an accident the plant shuts down safely."
Using France as an example, Kaplinski's third argument focused on the issue of the disposal of spent nuclear fuel, which can be reprocessed even on a large scale if necessary. "What remains after reprocessing can be safely buried hundreds of meters below ground in stable granite rock," he explained.
Although a nuclear power plant would cost more than a wind or solar farm for the same amount of energy produced, Kaplinski argued that its ability to continue operating for 90 percent of the year, as opposed to around 40 percent for wind turbines and only 12 percent for solar panels, would make it a more astute investment in the long run. "In addition, large-scale production of renewable energy requires a massive amount of energy storage, the cost of which is already tens of times higher than a nuclear plant," Kaplinski said.
With his final point, Kaplinksi's pointed out, that those European countries with the lowest CO2 emission levels from electricity production, including Sweden, Finland and France, are all nuclear. Kaplinski added, that the only exception is Norway, which is simply fortunate to have access to large quantities of natural hydropower.
In an ETV debate broadcast on Wednesday evening, four out of the five parliamentary parties expressed support for plans to construct a nuclear power plant in Estonia, with only Jevgeni Ossinovski of the SDE opposed to the idea.
Editor: Michael Cole