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Development of nuclear energy, Hinkley Point C and SMR in Estonia

According to the report on the state of electricity markets published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), nuclear energy production in the world in 2025 will probably be the highest in history. More and more countries (China, India, South Korea, and France) are investing in reactors to accelerate the transition to a low-emission economy. Moreover, by early next year, renewable energy will likely overtake coal as an energy source and account for roughly ⅓ of global electricity production.

The prominent British nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C in Somerset may cost up to $59 billion, and the completion date may be postponed beyond 2029. The plant is expected to produce enough energy to power six million homes and provide about 7% of the country’s electricity. Moreover, it will create thousands of jobs. Such nuclear projects are vital to the UK government’s plans to achieve greater energy independence and climate neutrality by 2050.

Estonia intends to use a small modular reactor (SMR) to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2030 completely and climate neutrality by 2050. The selected technology is the BWRX-300 reactor developed by GE Hitachi, which was also chosen by the Polish authorities. Until now, the exploitation of oil shale ensured Estonia’s energy independence, one of the most polluting fossil fuels. That sedimentary rock can be burned as a low-grade power generation and heating fuel.

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