SMR consulting for Fermi Energia

Fortum has been actively supporting the ongoing Estonian SMR project since 2019 by providing Fermi Energia with both our long standing nuclear expertise as well as the results of our R&D work on SMRs. By 2020 this has resulted in an outline for the licensing process for SMRs, with the focus on a nuclear newcomer country as well as a pre-feasibility study on the development of the necessary resources and competences of the licence applicant/licensee and the national nuclear regulator.

Cityscape on the side of a river with a large power transmission line crossing the view

The cooperation was expanded in 2021 to address potential additional value of SMRs related to grid ancillary services in the Baltic Synchronous Area, techno-economical modelling of SMRs including the impact of thermal storage and a general level assessment and discussion on various issues that may have an impact on licensing and the licensability of a non-traditional Light Water Reactor (LWR) SMR technology

Case description of the Licensing Study

Fortum and Fermi Energia carried out in 2020 a licensing study considering SMR deployment in Estonia. The study discusses the possible main elements of a generic licensing process and makes suggestions regarding a possible licensing model for the construction license. While the study considers specifically a newcomer nuclear country, such as Estonia, many of the findings can be considered as applicable in SMR deployment projects worldwide.

The starting point for the study was that the licensee is always responsible for the safety of the nuclear plant, and that the national regulator must independently ensure its safe operation. However, assuming that the same SMR design has already been licensed in one country, the licensing process in subsequent countries can be made significantly more efficient through maximum utilisation of the existing safety case and Preliminary Safety Assessment Report (PSAR), as well as the corresponding regulatory safety assessment from the earlier licensing case. Therefore, it would be beneficial if the national legislation and regulations would only set safety targets compatible with international practices (such as IAEA), but avoid setting detailed, prescriptive requirements that could lead to design changes. Ideally, deviations from the reference design would be limited only to the local site and environmental conditions. The safety assessments of the license applicant and the regulator should be based on a graded approach, prioritising deviations from the reference design and safety significant items. The study provides also examples on the objectives and methods of the different safety assessments.

“Fermi Energia is very pleased with the cooperation with Fortum and the result of the study."

Kalev Kallemets CEO and co-founder of Fermi Energia.

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Fact sheet

Customer: Fermi Energia, Estonia

Work started: 2019

Plant type: Currently evaluating multiple potential SMR plant designs.


Summary of the Licensing study

Read over at

"Fortum, Tractebel to assist in Estonian SMR deployment" on World Nuclear News

Read more at WNN

Olli Kymäläinen

Senior Manager
Newbuild and Operating Services
Tel: +358 50 453 5388
olli [dot] kymalainen [at] fortum [dot] com