Small Modular Reactors

Estonia / Nuclear Company Issues Call For Tenders From Three Reactor Developers

By David Dalton
16 September 2022

Fermi Energia plans to choose technology as soon as February 2023
Nuclear Company Issues Call For Tenders From Three Reactor Developers
GEH’s BWRX nuclear power plant is one of the three technologies in the running. Courtesy GEH.
Estonian nuclear company Fermi Energia has issued a call for tenders that are due by December and will include comprehensive technical documentation needed to estimate construction costs for a small modular reactor in the European country.

Fermi Energia said it was calling 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.

Fermi Energia, founded in 2019, said it plans to choose a reactor technology in February 2023. It said prerequisites include technological maturity, the establishment of a reference plant, economic competitiveness and the participation of Estonian companies in the supply chain.

A project development and preliminary works contract will be signed with the winning bidder.

Fermi Energia chief executive officer Kalev Kallemets said that when the company started studying possible reactor technologies in 2019 there were “several dozen” possible options.

“Some have turned out to be more successful, and from the successful ones, in turn, we have to choose the most suitable for Estonian conditions and the electricity system, taking into account the final price of the produced electricity for the consumer,” Mr Kallemets said.

He said all three suppliers taking part in the bid have begun formal construction permit procedures with the regulator in major countries. The first units of their kind could produce electricity at the end of the decade.

Target Is €55/MWh For Electricity

According to Fermi Energia, the cost of building a small reactor with standardised, factory-produced components is significantly lower than for large nuclear plants. The short construction time helps to reduce the risk of delays and related costs.

Fermi Energia told NucNet it is aiming to supply electricity to large customers in the Baltic region at €55/MWh over a 15-year period – a significant fall from the €100/MWh that is common today, the company said.

Henri Ormus, co-founder and member of the management board at Fermi Energia, said the company’s main targets are industry and large consumers who need “stable and predictable electricity prices”. Nuclear would give Estonia a secure, domestic source of emissions-free generation and reduce energy imports.

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