Rolls-Royce, Fermi Energia to study SMR potential in Estonia

04 March 2021

The UK's Rolls-Royce and Estonia's Fermi Energia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to study the potential for the deployment of small modular reactors in the Baltic country. The study will cover all aspects of deployment, including grid suitability, cooling, emergency planning, human resources, licensing feasibility, economics and the supply chain.

How the UK SMR might look (Image: Rolls-Royce)

A UK SMR consortium led by Rolls-Royce is working with the UK government to secure a commitment for a fleet of SMRs, each providing at least 440 MWe, to be operational within a decade. The power stations will be built by the consortium, before being handed over to be operated by power generation companies.

The consortium includes Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and TWI. The current phase of the programme has been jointly funded by all consortium members and UK Research and Innovation.

Tom Samson, interim CEO of the consortium, said of the MoU: "It’s a compelling proposition that has a clear role to play in Estonia’s low-carbon energy future."

Kalev Kallemets, CEO and co-founder of Fermi Energia, added: “Fermi Energia is looking at small modular reactor designs with credible technical, financial and political commitment to have first-of-a-kind deployment this decade," adding that Fermi Energia considers the Rolls-Royce SMR as "one of the credible SMR designs in its national designated spatial planning procedure".

Fermi Energia was founded by Estonian energy and nuclear energy professionals to develop deployment of SMRs in Estonia. In July 2019, the company launched a feasibility study on the suitability of SMRs for Estonia's electricity supply and climate goals beyond 2030, following a financing round from investors and shareholders. It selected four SMR designs to be included in the feasibility study: Moltex Energy SSR-W300, Terrestrial Energy IMSR-400, GE Hitachi BWRX-300 and NuScale SMR. Fermi Energia has been cooperating with Sweden's Vattenfall, Finland's Fortum and Belgium's Tractabel.

Rolls-Royce said last month it has almost completed the feasibility stage in the development of its UKSMR and in May will focus on securing investment. The technology will undergo the Generic Design Assessment process with UK regulators in 2024 and will be ready for grid use five years later, it said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News