teisipäev, veebruar 17, 2009


The Estonian government appears to be in support of building a nuclear power plant somewhere on the territory of Eestimaa.

A decision in principle is soon expected, though a definitive parliamentary decision could be five years off, and the power plant itself is unlikely to become functional before 2025.

A representative for Eesti Energia with the unfortunate name of Andres Tropp told Helsingin Sanomat that the government is already in the fields and bays of north Estonia scouting up locations. Its favorite site is Suur-Pakri, an island near Paldiski.

Suur-Pakri is known as Stora Rå in Swedish and is one of the few locations in Estonia that is officially labeled in my Estonian road atlas in a language other than Estonian. These coastal islands were inhabited by the Estonian Swedes prior to the Second World War. During reprivatization, many of the former owners reclaimed their property, though only a handful returned to live there. I am unsure of what kind of conflict the erection of a nuclear power plant there would create with the local landowners.

More likely, the idea to place the plant close to Paldiski, which is now home to a farm of wind turbines, made sense to the government. The area could become a small power generating corridor within the country, far away from the troublesome border with Russia, where several hydroelectric plants are already located.

As for the option of connecting the Estonian grid to the future replacement for Ignalina in Lithuania, here is a demonstration of Baltic unity for you in a nutshell:

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.

16 kommentaari:

John Menzies ütles ...

Given the role that radioactive elements play in Russian culture (polonium and so on), wouldn't building a plant on the border encourage unwanted "isotope tourism"? Something to consider.

I think the advantage of building it on the island is that if the worst happens, the Baltic Sea will only be slightly more contaminated than it is.

buddler ütles ...

What do you mean by "isotope tourism"?
I am really curios about public acceptance of nuclear power plants in Estonia. Here in Germany the big anti nuclear energy wave seems to be over now and even politicians and ruling party members consider rolling back nuclear phase out, despite having voted for it in the past.

John Menzies ütles ...

Well, you have your Russian pensioners who have taken radioactive supplements for years. Economic crisis hits and Putin cuts the caesium ration. But then a power plant is built right across the river, representing an easy source of particle radiation. Perhaps they have the impression that Estonia will heap the nuclear waste into piles as it does the oil shale ash. Estonia sees a wave of pensioners crawling through tunnels. Olga from Kingisep is found leaning her back against the reactor in a restricted area, claiming to be "resting". Etc.

But as said it's a moot point, I'm confident that the Estonian government considered this scenario.

Giustino ütles ...

If Finland's got it, Estonia wants it. Estonia needs to keep up with the Joneses (or their Finnish equivalent).

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

There is one small country inside the EU that has a nuclear power plant: Slovenia. To run the plant they have around 600 employees or workers related to it.
The control commission needs around 30-50 people.
Will be interesting how Estonia would do it.

Lingüista ütles ...

I suppose this is part of the 'independence from Russian gas/oil' strategy? But I wonder if the countries who now want to invest in nuclear energy can really get the necessary uranium so easily. After all, it's a much rarer commodity than natural gas or petroleum. Won't Estonia need to buy its uranium from Russia anyway?

luuletaja ütles ...

actually, not many know it, but the first soviet atom bomb was made of material which was excavated in Estonia. so, IF we really, really wouldn't get yellow cake from anybody, we could go and dig that stuff from Ida-Virumaa.

Unknown ütles ...

It's not known if the uranium from Ida-Virumaa was used in atomic bombs. It's only known that it was excavated there before better locations were found in other parts of Russia. Also, to get a tiny bit of uranium massive land masses would need to be excavated because if I remember correctly, the Dictyonema shale isn't exactly rich with uranium. Also, we'd need to enrich the uranium which calls for centrifuge plants etc. So I doubt it would be feasible to produce fission energy from Estonian raw material.

Kalle Kniivilä ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Kalle Kniivilä ütles ...

Eesti Päevaleht had this piece of news several days ago.

By the way, the correct Swedish name of Suur Pakri is Stora Rågö.

Giustino ütles ...

By the way, the correct Swedish name of Suur Pakri is Stora Rågö.

I keep making Danish mistakes. Sorry.

LPR ütles ...

Is there a plan for spent fuel rods?

buddler ütles ...

Spent rods?
Nere my hometown, we have a university offering a master in radioactive waste management.
--> http://www.ielf.tu-clausthal.de/masterstudium-radioactive-and-hazardous-waste-management/kompetenzen/ --> maybe lots of Estonian people joining the asian majority there? ;-)
It's quite unique in Europe.
Does Estonia have any salt domes?

martintg ütles ...

Australia and Canada holds over 50% of the world's uranium production, see:

Unknown ütles ...

It doesn't mean anything. A contemporary nuclear power plant consumes very low quantity of fuel when operated, compared to other sources of energy.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-climate_change_debate/2587.jsp :

At present, some 440 nuclear reactors are operating worldwide, with a combined capacity of some 363 GW(e). These reactors require about 67,000 tonnes of natural uranium per year. The present reserves and resources (to 80 US$/kg U) are about 3.5 million tonnes (see here). This , enough to last some fifty years at the current consumption rate.

That makes it about 5.4 MW / tonne of uranium per year. But note also, that a big fraction of current nuclear power plants are relatively wasteful I-st and II-nd generation power plants.

So, to completely substitute Narva elektrijaamad power capacity, you would need a plant of about 2.5 GW, which means you would need about 405 tones of natural uranium per year. Compare that to about 10.000.000 tones of (processed?) oil shale that they consume now, generating as much as 4.500.000 tones of ash per year (which is being offloaded in special reservoirs on site).

Unknown ütles ...

Oh, and that 405 tonnes / year is based on an average worldwide figure. A contemporary or a future generation IV reactor would likely consume even less, not mentioning that it would also leave much less nuclear waste.