Fermi Energia: Nuclear waste could potentially be stored in Estonia

  • 2021-02-01
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – According to a survey commissioned by the company Fermi Energia, which seeks to set up a modular nuclear power plant in Estonia, several areas of Estonia could be potentially cleared by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the establishment of a deep well storage facility for used nuclear fuel. 

The survey was conducted by the US company Deep Isolation, which is developing a nuclear waste final depositing technology using horizontal deep wells. The Estonian partner in the survey was engineering bureau OU Inseneriburoo Steiger, Fermi Energia announced on Monday. 

The study conducted on the basis of existing geological data and analogues as part of a qualitative assessment of the crystalline basement of Estonia revealed no precluding factors when it comes to the conduct of more detailed studies in the future. In the course of the survey, the geological conditions as well as potential risk factors at different locations across of Estonia were assessed. 

A deep well storage facility would isolate used nuclear fuel at a depth of 1,500 meters. In Finland, Sweden and France storage facilities for nuclear waste are built at a depth of 500 meters by using mining technology. 

Estonia has set it as a goal to curb carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2050 and to end the production of electric energy from oil shale by 2035.

According to Fermi Energia, generation of nuclear energy with small modular reactors would be  one way for reaching these goals. However, the question how to safely deposit used nuclear fuel for periods spanning many generations is one of the key issues in the debate on the introduction of nuclear energy.

Fermi Energia is a company established at the beginning of on 2019 which aims to set up a nuclear power plant using small modular reactors in Estonia.