UK’s Moltex Energy signs deal to install molten salt reactor in Estonia

Italian utility Fermi Energia has signed a preliminary deal with Moltex Energy, a UK nuclear engineer, to install a small modular reactor (SMR) in Estonia.

Kalev Kallemets, the chief executive of Fermi, said in a press statement: "Our ambition is to deploy the first fourth generation SMR in the EU in Estonia by the early 2030s. We are delighted to be working closely with Moltex Energy on this vital project. It is important for Estonia to have its own source of clean, cheap energy and Moltex’s innovative technology has huge potential for us."

Moltex’s Stable Salt Reactor (SSR) is a 300MW UK reactor design that can use a number of fuels, including plutonium and actinides from solid fuelled reactors. It relies on convection rather than mechanical pumps to move energy from static vertical fuel tubes to the steam generators. The company says 99% of its waste fuel is less radioactive than natural uranium ore after 300 years.

Moltex’s schematic for its molten salt reactor

Simon Newton, business development director at Moltex, said: "Estonia is a vibrant, entrepreneurial and forward-looking economy and is the perfect place to benefit from the Moltex Stable Salt Reactor technology."

Estonia’s electricity system is based on oil shale, but its reserves are expected to be depleted by 2030. The country is planning to develop wind resources, but it also requires a source of base load power.

London-based Moltex announced in July that it would build a demonstration of its SSR at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant site in Canada under an agreement signed with the New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation and New Brunswick Power.

Top image: Old shale oil extraction plant in Kohtla-Järves (Zosma/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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