The company said in a statement that it needs to apply to the government to begin the “designated spatial planning process”. This pricess will analyse the building of a SMR from an environmental, societal, economic and national security perspective, and determine the potential locations for the power plant.
Fermi said it has financed all preparatory activities to date with total funding worth €560,000 from Estonian private investors and US venture capital fund Last Energy VC.
The company is now looking to collect another €1M public funding through the crowdfunding platform Funderbeam to form a part of a total €2.5m.
The company expects to submit an application to the government to start the planning process in late 2021. Authorities will then have 90 days to decide whether to start the procedure or not.
The planning process is expected to take about four to five years, Fermi said. The schedule matches the SMR technology development timeframe as the new generation reactor designs are expected to become available for deployment by the second half of 2020s.
Fermi said Martin Villig, founder of the online transport platform Bolt, and Martin Henk, founder of software company Pipedrive, have been attracted as key investors in the funding round.
Funderbeam is a global marketplace for funding and trading private companies. Funderbeam, founded in 2013 in Estonia, claims it has helped companies raise more than €29m of funding.
In October 2019, Fermi Energia and US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy signed an agreement to collaborate on the potential deployment of GEH’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor in Estonia.
The Estonian company, established in 2019, has said it is “technology neutral” and is following the licensing process for SMR designs in the US and Canada to see which technologies are suitable.
The Fermi Energia SMR initiative also involves Finnish energy companies Vattenfall and Fortum and Belgian engineering company Tractebel. For the past year they have been working on a feasibility study into SMR deployment in Estonia.