Public concerned about radioactive waste from future nuclear power plant

Property in the village of Letipea where a nuclear power plant may be built.
Property in the village of Letipea where a nuclear power plant may be built. Source: Ago Gaškov

The handling of radioactive nuclear waste is one of the public's biggest concerns in discussions about potentially building a nuclear power plant in Estonia, pollsters have found.

In 2024, the government will make a decision on whether or not to build a nuclear power plant in Estonia. This will be based on a report currently being put together by the Ministry of Environment.

Surveys show nuclear energy is seen as an alternative to using shale oil to create energy.

But the public's attitudes can be broadly split into three groups: supporters, opponents and skeptics. 

"The biggest plus for Estonians is that the introduction of nuclear power will ensure our national energy security. The biggest disadvantage is the potential environmental risk from radioactive waste management," said pollster Kantar Emor's research expert Katrin Männaste.

Fermi Energia has suggested GE-Hitachi could build a BWRX-300 nuclear power station. Source: Fermi Energia

Meelis Münt, head of the nuclear energy working group, said this is certainly an important issue.

"At the same time, we have to keep in mind that climate change is not going away; the world is waiting for a transition to clean energy. A nuclear power plant is CO2-free energy production. All this supports the case for strongly considering nuclear power," he said.

Discussions so far suggest, if the plant is given the green light, it should be built by a private company and Fermi Energia has put itself forward. But the state would be happy if others entered the competition.

"It is important is that in the current sensitive phase, where no decision has been made to build a nuclear power plant in Estonia, the state and the private sector work together but independently of each other. This is the principle we follow in our work," said Münt.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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