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IAEA approves Estonia to continue its nuclear program

Representatives of the IAEA conducted an INIR (Integrated Infrastructure Review) in Estonia to assess the nation's readiness to implement nuclear energy. According to the findings of the evaluation, Estonia has the capacity to move forward with the implementation of nuclear energy.

The group of experts agreed that Estonia has developed a comprehensive assessment of its nuclear infrastructure needs so that the government can decide whether to launch a nuclear power program.

"Estonia is well organized in its preparations for the decision to launch a nuclear power program to support the country's transition to decarbonization," Eric Mathet, chief of operations of the IAEA's department for nuclear infrastructure development and mission team leader, said.

"During the open discussions held in the last few days, we have seen a strong commitment of highly motivated and competent Estonian professionals to the development of the necessary infrastructure for the nuclear program," he said.

Mathet recommended that Estonia should set up an independent national supervisory body to oversee nuclear energy. He also recommended to start working on workforce planning and regulations to ensure that the program does not stall.

The team said Estonia must now complete a comprehensive report to support a decision on a potential nuclear power program, including clear timelines for major activities. The team also found that Estonia needs to finalize its plans and policies to support the next phase of the program, and further consider the development of its legal and regulatory framework.

"The key areas for further action that have been identified is first the completion, the need to complete a comprehensive report and to prepare to coordinate a nuclear power program. The second area that was identified is to give further considerations for the development of the legal and regulatory framework. And the third one is the need to finalize the plan and policy to support the next phase of the program," he said.

Based on the results of the INIR mission, the IAEA and Estonia will develop an integrated work plan to provide coordinated support in line with the further development of the country's nuclear energy program.

Antti Tooming, undersecretary of the Ministry of Climate and head of the national working group on nuclear energy, said he welcomes the report, which will be integrated into the final report of the Estonian working group. "The mission reassured us that we are on the right track in our nuclear energy considerations and provided valuable information for the next phase of follow-up if Estonia decides to go nuclear."

According to Tooming, the debates were difficult, but the result was gratifying.

The experts, who arrived last Monday, assessed Estonia's preparations for a decision in principle on the introduction of nuclear energy.

The IAEA has now two weeks to sent to Estonia a clear edited version of the report, after which Estonian has 90 days to make it public.

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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Kristina Kersa

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