Swedish utility Vattenfall said on 18 March that it was joining the Estonian pilot study on small modular reactors (SMRs).
The Estonian development company Fermi Energia is conducting a pilot study to investigate the possibility of building a SMR reactor in Estonia.
Estonia has the European Union's highest carbon emissions per kilo watt hour of electricity generated compared with emissions in Sweden, which are among the world's lowest. Sweden's electricity generation is basically fossil-free due to a combination of hydro power, nuclear power and wind power.
Vattenfall, which owns ten reactors in Sweden and Germany, says the study will look at cost conditions, licensing and general developments in the small modular reactor sector.
Fermi Energia in January signed memorandums of understanding with Finnish power company Fortum and Belgian engineering company Tractebel to cooperate on the study, which Vattenfall has now joined.
Fermi Energia has said it is technology neutral. It is following the licensing process for SMR designs in the US and Canada to see which technologies are suitable.
Vattenfall's cooperation with Fermi Energia is a matter of gaining more knowledge in one of the utility's many development areas, said Mats Ladeborn, head of the fleet development department in Vattenfall's nuclear power operations.
"Fossil-free is a watchword for everything we do. Nuclear power has very low carbon dioxide emissions and can contribute to reducing the use of fossil fuels in the EU," Ladeborn said.
"The development of small-scale nuclear reactors looks promising for us, and of course it's interesting to follow technological developments in all the types of power sources we ourselves use for generating electricity," he added.
Photo: Mats Ladeborn, head of fleet development department in Vattenfall's nuclear power operations