Steady Energy is set to start construction of its first small modular nuclear (SMR) pilot plant in Finland next year

Written by
Lauri Muranen
Published on
June 6, 2024
Steady Energy is set to start construction of its first small modular nuclear (SMR) pilot plant in Finland next year

Press release: Helsinki, Finland – Finnish nuclear start-up Steady Energy is set to start construction ofits first small modular nuclear (SMR) pilot plant in Finland next year.Potential sites include the Finnish capital Helsinki and two other cities. CEOTommi Nyman emphasizes the project’s pivotal role in achieving Finland'scarbon-neutral goals. The construction of the first operational plant is projectedto begin by 2028, with the first unit expected to be operational by 2030.

Finnish technology company Steady Energy willcommence construction of Finland’s first small modular nuclear (SMR) pilotplant in Finland next year, the first of its kind in Finland and one of theonly few globally. The pilot will serve as a full-scale, operational model ofthe Finnish-designed SMR unit. Unlike the actual power plant, the pilot unit willuse an electric element to produce heat inside the reactor capsule instead ofnuclear fuel. The main purpose is to test operational features and to establishthe necessary supply chains with various manufacturers to construct actualplants.

Steady Energy has previously signed letters ofintent for the delivery of up to 15 reactors with Helsinki's local utilityHelen and Kuopio Energy in Eastern Finland. The construction of the firstoperational plant could begin as early as 2028, with the first unit operationalby 2030.

"Finland is taking significant stridestowards a carbon-neutral future. Our emission targets are transitioning frommere plans to practical actions. These actions will also soon result in cleanerair in our cities", says Tommi Nyman, CEO of Steady Energy.

Steady Energy is currently collecting fundingfor the construction of the pilot plant for which the investment is estimatedto be around €15–20 million ($16–22 million, £13–17 million). Final evaluationsof potential sites are underway, with a decision expected by the end of summer.Following this, detailed planning and tendering for construction will commence.After the testing phase, the facility will be used for training and researchpurposes.

Currently, the proposed locations for the pilotplant include Salmisaari caves in the Finnish capital Helsinki’s inner city,Huuhanmäki caves in the eastern Finnish regional center Kuopio, and the powerplant sites at Kymijärvi and Teivaanmäki in Lahti, a regional capital inSouthern Finland. Steady Energy’s unit, comparable in size to an uprightshipping container, can be constructed entirely underground or on an existingindustrial site.

"While Finland has made great progress ingreen electricity production, we still heat our cities with fossil fuels andbiomass. Heating a large city can require a log pile the size of a footballfield each day. Replacing this with a small, emission-free nuclear power plantthat can be installed underground will eliminate the endless lines of fueltrucks and radically reduce local air pollution," explains Steady EnergyCEO Tommi Nyman.

A significant milestone towards emission-freeheating was achieved in February 2024 when the Finnish Radiation and NuclearSafety Authority (STUK), known globally for its high standards, removed thedistance-based safety zones for new nuclear plants. This change allows smallmodular reactors to be located near residential areas. Given that districtheating plants need to be situated close to urban areas, current city centersoften house large coal, peat, gas and oil power plants. Replacing these with container-sizedsmall nuclear units will free up valuable land for residents in the heart ofcities.

"We are living in an exciting time. It isexhilarating to put Finland's ambitious climate goals into practice," saysSteady Energy CEO Tommi Nyman.