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Fermi Energia targets Aidu-Liiva as possible nuclear power plant site

Site of the Aidu quarry, one of the potential locations for a nuclear power station, as identified by by Fermi Energia and a state working party on the topic.
Site of the Aidu quarry, one of the potential locations for a nuclear power station, as identified by by Fermi Energia and a state working party on the topic. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Fermi Energia, which is aiming to develop a nuclear power plant in Estonia, wants to apply to the government to initiate a special planning procedure. According to a report by daily regional newspaper Põhjarannik, Fermi has written to Lüganuse Municipality Council requesting permission to propose the Aidu-Liiva village area in Ida-Viru County as one of the potential sites for the proposed plant.

The Estonian state has selected 15 sites as potential locations for the construction of the nuclear power plant. Two of these sites – the towns of Toila (including Lüganuse) in Ida-Viru County and Kunda in Lääne-Viru County – coincide with those chosen by small modular reactor (SMR) developer Fermi Energia, the newspaper notes.

A comparison of the sites and followed by a more detailed selection process will be made in the course of a special national planning procedure, which Fermi Energia plans to apply for early next year.

According to preliminary studies carried out by Fermi Energia, the Letipea village area in Viru-Nigula Municipality and the Aidu-Liiva village area in Lüganuse Municipality would both potentially be suitable locations for the construction of a SMR plant.

The company therefore wants to officially propose these potential sites in its application for a planning permit.

In a letter addressed to Lüganuse Municipal Council, Fermi Energia outlined the benefits of the Aidu area for the installation of an SMR. Among them were the good logistics, the area's industrial heritage and the availability of a workforce with industrial experience.

Another advantage is the availability of cooling water in Aidu as well as the currently disused Kohtla, Sompa and Viru mines, the village's proximity to the main electricity grid. The resulting supply of cheap district heating to the nearby cities of Kiviõli, Kohtla-Järve, Jõhvi, Sillamäe and Narva as well as to consumers in Püssi, Lüganuse, Kohtla-Nõmme was also put forward as a beneficial factor.

A similar letter was also sent to Viru-Nigula Municipal Council.

In order for Aidu to be included as a candidate site in Fermi's application for the initiation of special planning, Lüganuse Municipal Council must first give its agreement.

Fermi Energia is therefore asking Lüganuse Municipal Council to provide a written response by the end of September outlining whether it is prepared to allow the Aidu-Liiva village area to be identified on the application as one of the best potential sites for between two and four, SMR plants.

That is, of course, if the Estonian government and the Riigikogu decide that constructing a nuclear power plant in Estonia is in fact conceivable at all. That decision is expected to be made by the state next year.

Lüganuse Municipality Council will most likely begin discussing the letter as early as its August meeting, deputy mayor Helve Pettai told Põhjarannik.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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