The two private companies signed the memorandum of understanding in Lviv, Ukraine, on Monday (28 November).
They said Fermi Energia has a practical understanding of EU energy policy, SMR deployment challenges, economics, risks and financing issues. It has the resources to “support Eco-Optima in consideration of SMR deployment in western Ukraine” where it is involved in natural gas extraction.
Fermi Energia said the companies intend to “support each other towards potential SMR deployment for district heating”. The MOU also covers technical assistance.
The MOU means the two companies will share non-confidential studies completed under the terms of the agreement – studies that are carried out either on their own or with other partners.
Ukraine ‘Needs To Start Planning For Decarbonisation’
Fermi Energia’s chief executive officer Kalev Kallemets said “we in Estonia are certain that Ukraine will win the Russian aggression war against its nation” and “now is not too soon to start planning for restoration from the horrible war to have hope and better future for Ukraine”.
He said the European Council has granted Ukraine the status of a candidate for accession to the EU and to align with EU climate policy, Kyiv needs to plan to decarbonise its power generation.
Taras Fedak, director of development at Eco-Optima, said Fermi Energia’s knowhow will “help us speed up consideration of small modular reactors to ensure security of supply and energy independence of Ukraine faster than trying to develop all knowhow alone”.
Fermi Energia, founded in 2019, has been at the forefront of plans to deploy SMRs in Estonia.
The company recently issued a call for tenders that are due by December and will include comprehensive technical documentation needed to estimate construction costs.
Fermi Energia has called for tenders from three SMR developers: US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and NuScale and UK-based Rolls-Royce SMR. GEH’s plant is the BWRX-300, NuScale’s is the Voygr and the Rolls-Royce plant is known as the Rolls-Royce SMR.
It plans to choose a reactor technology in February 2023 – a technology that is also likely to be used for the Ukraine plans. It said prerequisites include technological maturity, the establishment of a reference plant, economic competitiveness and the participation of Estonian companies in the supply chain.