TALLINN – Timo Tatar, deputy secretary general for energy and mineral resources at the Ministry of Climate, said at a press briefing introducing the final report of the national nuclear energy working group on Wednesday that although a small nuclear modular reactor would be suitable for the Estonian energy system, it cannot be considered essential.
"Finally, is nuclear energy now an essential solution for Estonia? It must be said that it is not. In Europe, there is today and will be in the future many countries that achieve the climate goals of their energy system or the reduction of CO2 emissions without nuclear energy, using other solutions, perhaps depending more during certain hours also on external connections and neighbors," Tatar said.
Although Estonia has set itself the goal of producing renewable energy equal to the amount of consumption by 2030, this does not mean that there is no need for controllable capacities, the deputy secretary general said.
"As we know, the palette of options is not very wide today when it comes to controllable, clean power plants. There is, indeed, nuclear power, which is a controllable and clean way of generating electricity. Other alternatives are related to different biofuels, be it biomethane, green hydrogen, and its use in gas turbines. These are the options, and from these options we can see that if the private sector decides to make such an investment, there is room for such a modular reactor in the market, especially considering that Estonia is also well connected to neighboring systems," Tatar said.
At that, according to the deputy secretary general, the coexistence of nuclear and renewable energy on the Estonian energy market is completely realistic.
"We can see this in Finland, where in recent years both the new Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor has started up and investment decisions have been made and thousands and thousands of megawatts of new wind farms are under construction," Tatar said.
According to the conclusions of the final report of the national nuclear energy working group, which was completed at the end of 2023, the introduction of nuclear energy in Estonia would support the achievement of climate goals, security of supply and the stability of the energy system. The question of whether to allow the development of nuclear energy in Estonia will soon be discussed by the government, which will decide whether and in what form to send the question to the Riigikogu, which holds the competence to make the final decision.