Working group proposes 16 possible locations for nuclear plant

Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Finland.
Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Finland. Source: SCANPIX / AFP

A spatial analysis working group has published an interim report proposing 16 possible locations for Estonia's nuclear power plant all of which are on the coast. The working group did not mention specific settlements yet.

Because border and smaller bodies of water are unsuitable as sources of cooling water, the proposed solutions line the Estonian coast.

"When choosing possible locations, we look at which criteria rule out a nuclear plant and where effects would need further analysis. As a result, we were left with suitable areas along the coastline. Most of them in northern Estonia," said Alan Rood, adviser at the spatial planning department of the Ministry of Finance.

Possible locations have included Pärnu County, Kaberneeme, western Harju County, Letipea, Aa and Aidu.

Some possible locations are also in western Estonia and, as put by Rood, "everywhere in Estonia where there is sufficient cooling water." He did not wish to go into any more detail as location surveys are still ongoing.

The spatial analysis working group's final analysis will be completed in March, with the entire nuclear energy feasibility study expected at the end of this year.

Coordinator of the nuclear energy working group Reelika Runnel said that the number of possible locations will probably be reduced in the final document. "There will be fewer than 16 locations once the wheat is separated from the chaff. Work is ongoing," she said.

All of the initially proposed locations will be analyzed from the socioeconomic aspect, as well as by the Ministry of Defense in terms of national security, Runnel explained.

The working group also offers two scenarios based on the technology a nuclear power plant to be built in Estonia would use. A plant with an open cooling system would have to be right on the coast, while closed cooling system plants could be built further inland.

"Open systems require more cooling water while taking less room. A closed system would mean handling the cooling on the plant's territory, which would have to be bigger," Rood said.

Reelika Runnel said that next to mapping out possible locations, the working group is analyzing the type of legislation that would be needed, how to create a nuclear watchdog and how many specialists of which education level Estonia would need.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski

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