Atomic Policy in Estonia

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Soviet Time

From 1940 to 1991 Estonia was a part of the Soviet Union and its nuclear policy was set by the Soviet government.

During this era Estonia played an important role in both civilian and military nuclear programs by having such facilities as the Uranium Enrichment Factory (Kombinat 7) in Sillamäe and the Soviet Nuclear Submarine Training Center in Paldiski.[1]

Radioactive Waste Repositories

Due to uranium mining and enrichment and two nuclear reactors on its territory Estonia needed places where to store the waste. Waste from Kombinat 7 is stored in Sillamäe Radioactive Tailings Depository. Waste from Paldiski facility is stored in Paldiski interim disposal site, which was established in 1997.

Tammiku, also known as Saku

Independent State

Estonia has no nuclear power plants but it considering to build one by 2023. It is a part of the National Development Plan of the Energy Sector until 2020, which was approved by the Estonian Parliament on June 15, 2009.[2] Also the country is interested in the Visaginas NPP (LT) project.

Currently Estonia gets most of its energy from domestic oil share reserves. However, due to the resulting CO2 emissions the country is planning to significantly reduce its use of oil shale. Estonia is relatively one of the world's biggest producers of CO2, with per capita emissions of 14 tonnes per year[3]. In her statement at the 55th General Conference of the IAEA Ms. Eve-Külli Kala, Ambassador, Resident Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency says that nuclear power is viewed as a possible source for emission-free energy[4].

According to the development plans, in 15 years the proportion of oil shale should remain below 30% and more different sources of energy should be used as compared to the current situation.[5]

Regarding Estonia's plans to build an own nuclear power plant, there are 6 places in the country that are claimed to be suitable for such a purpose. Media has mainly focussed on the Pakri Islands. The state-owned energy company Eesti Energia, too, has conducted studies there[6]. The islands are located in the Finnish Gulf and administratively they belong to the town of Paldiski[7]. Nuclear Disaster in Japan caused changes in the public opinion on nuclear power. Estonian economy and coruscations minister Juhan Parts said that the Estonian government will have to take it into account. However, nuclear power is still viewed as one of solutions. "Nuclear energy is one of the alternatives but there must be clear understanding of the public of that here," said Kalev Kallemets, CEO of Non profit organisation Estonian Nuclear Power Plant[8].

In the Visaginas NPP project Estonia is presumed to be one of the shareholders, with a share of 22 %.

On their website Eesti Energia says that Wider use of renewable energy sources instead of nuclear power is not considered because "as far as exploitation of renewable energy is relatively expensive for the end consumer, it wouldn't be rational to use it for covering the base load needs of the country."[9].

  1. http://www.nationmaster.com/country/en-estonia/mil-military as of April 26, 2013
  2. http://www.mkm.ee/326447/ as of September 27, 2012
  3. http://ehron.jrc.ec.europa.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=72&Itemid=94 as of September 27, 2012
  4. http://www.iaea.org/About/Policy/GC/GC55/Statements/estonia.pdf as of September 27, 2012
  5. http://www.mkm.ee/power-engineering-development-plans-were-approved-by-the-government/ as of September 27, 2012
  6. http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/energy/?doc=38478 as of September 27, 2012
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakri_Islands as of September 27, 2012
  8. http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/energy/?doc=38478as of September 27, 2012
  9. https://www.energia.ee/en/tuumaenergia as of September 27, 2012

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