World News

Estonian firm aims to launch modular nuclear reactor in 2035

TALLINN (Reuters) - Small Estonian firm Fermi Energia said on Monday it was raising capital to start the official planning process for a new generation small modular reactor (SMR) which would be one of the first in Europe and the first nuclear plant in Estonia.

The small EU member state of 1.3 million people has for decades generated most of its energy from burning oil shale.

“Estonia has set an ambitious goal to end electricity production from oil shale by 2035,” Fermi Chief Executive Kalev Kallemets told Reuters. “The reactor would solve this challenge for Estonia and is relevant for the wider region.”

Fermi aims to apply to the government to start the planning process in late 2021, with the process -- which includes environmental, societal, economic and national security reviews -- expected to take up to five years.

“This matches the timeframe of technology development as small modular reactor technology is expected to become available for deployment by 2028,” Kallemets said.

Fermi could then start construction in 2030 and the plant would be producing electricity in 2035, he said.

The company has so far raised 560,000 euros from private investors and U.S. venture capital fund Last Energy VC. On Monday the firm said it seeks to raise 1 million euros through crowdfunding platform Funderbeam.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Daniel Wallis