IAEA: Estonia's preparation for deciding on nuclear energy is comprehensive

  • 2023-10-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – An expert group of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found during an eight-day mission in Estonia, which ended on Monday, that Estonia's preparation for deciding on the implementation of nuclear energy has been thorough.

"Estonia has thought through all the aspects accompanying the introduction of nuclear energy with sufficient depth in order to support the country's transition to climate-friendly energy production," Eric Mathet, senior nuclear engineer at the IAEA's nuclear infrastructure division and head of the mission, said. "Over the course of the week spent in Tallinn, we were convinced that Estonian specialists are competent, highly motivated and committed to the development of the nuclear energy program."

Of the things analyzed by the nuclear energy working group, experts highlighted the strategy for the development of human resources. It was also noted that the initial study of nuclear plant locations also included the establishment of a geological disposal site for used nuclear fuel. According to Mathet, this adds confidence that it is possible to deal with this waste in Estonia.

Antti Tooming, deputy secretary general of the Climate Ministry and the head of the nuclear energy working group, said that the experts' conclusions will be included in the final report to be submitted to the government.

"The feedback from the IAEA experts gave us confidence that we are on the right track with our preparations. We also received valuable information for the possible next step. This, of course, if Estonia decides to use nuclear energy," Tooming added.

Experts noted that the final report, due by the end of the year, must also include clear timelines for further large-scale activities. In the event that the Riigikogu decides to support the introduction of nuclear energy next year, the IAEA will organize a follow-up mission to review the implementation of the proposals and recommendations presented during this evaluation in the next phase of the introduction of nuclear energy.

IAEA expert missions allow member states to hold discussions with international experts on the experiences and best practices of different countries in order to prepare a more well-thought-out action plan for the development of national nuclear energy infrastructure.