Estonia to prepare a decision in principle for nuclear power plant
Strongest alternatives on the coast, southwest from capital Tallinn
The Estonian government is preparing a decision in principle with regard to building the country's first nuclear power plant. In its preliminary scrutiny, the state-run electricity company Eesti Energia has chosen six suitable sites for a nuclear reactor on the country’s northern coast.
The Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht made the locations public over the weekend.
Eesti Energia’s number one choice is the Suur-Pakri Island around 50 kilometres southwest of the capital Tallinn, and the Keibu Bay a bit further in the same direction.
“These locations provide the best possibilities for obtaining cooling water”, Eesti Energia head of Nuclear Energy Department Andres Tropp tells Helsingin Sanomat.
When selecting the site, the safety restrictions in force in Finland were taken into consideration. This is because Estonia does not yet have its own legislation regarding nuclear stations.
Talks of Finland’s possible interest in the Estonian power plant did not play a role in the site selection on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland.
Eesti Energia is now expecting a political decision with regard to constructing the nuclear station. A concrete parliamentary decision can be expected in the year 2014 at the earliest.
According to Eesti Energia, a nuclear power plant not exceeding 1,000 megawatts in output could be introduced in Estonia in 2025. According to Tropp, an 800 MW reactor would be ideal.
Originally the Baltic States were planning to set up a joint nuclear power station in Lithuania.
Estonia and Latvia, however, grew weary after Lithuania decided to include Poland in the project the year before last. The project has advanced sluggishly.
Estonia has to make considerable reductions in its carbon dioxide emissions in order to satisfy the terms of the new European Union climate and energy programmes.
The country's high level of emissions stems from the fact that much of the electricity is generated by burning oil shale, which Estonia has in abundance. The intention is to replace this with wind and nuclear energy, and to preserve self-sufficiency and avoid dependence on imports of energy from Russia.
The possibility of an Estonian nuclear reactor was also mentioned in passing recently in discussions over the use of nuclear-generated district heating for the Helsinki region.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Helsinki city council groups not overly keen on "nuclear heat" (12.2.2009)
Nuclear power could provide district heating for most of the capital region (11.2.2009)