On May 24, the second international conference, "Nuclear Energy for Latvia", took place. The conference aimed to promote an understanding of the role of nuclear energy in achieving Latvia’s climate goals and strengthening energy independence. World-class energy and nuclear energy experts from Latvia and abroad spoke at the conference.
The conference was opened by the state secretary of the Ministry of Climate and Energy, Līga Kurevska. The conference’s first speaker was the Latvian Academy of Sciences vice-president, ISSP UL’s deputy director for science, Dr.habil.phys. Andris Šternbergs, who provided insight into nuclear energy in Latvia’s total energy balance.
Before the conference, Andris Šternbergs emphasized: "Nuclear energy plays an important role in Latvian energy, both in the current energy crisis and in the future development of green energy. Energy independence ensures economic and political independence. To ensure that national decisions on implementing innovative and green energy production processes are made based on facts, the involvement of scientists is essential. Therefore, the planned conference is not only a knowledge exchange platform for Latvian and foreign nuclear energy experts, but it contributes to the promotion of Latvian society’s understanding of nuclear energy as an important component of energy security."
Fermi Energia (Estonia) CEO Kalev Kallemets presented Estonia’s progress in developing and deploying small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in Estonia, which will ensure lower electricity and heating prices in Estonia and Latvia. One of the prerequisites for introducing nuclear energy in the country is appropriately trained specialists. Marti Jeltsov, a researcher of Nuclear Science and Technology (KBFI), shared his experience in developing human resources for work in the nuclear energy sector.
In his presentation, Oļegs Linkevičs, head of the Development Department of AS "Latvenergo", talked about SMRs’ place in the Baltic electricity market and their suitability for countries with small energy systems. Juha Poikola, Public Relations Manager of Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO), Finland’s energy and climate policy expert, made a presentation on the expansion of the use of nuclear energy in Finland at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, which will help ensure Finland’s electricity self-sufficiency and achieve carbon neutrality goals.
It is undeniably essential to identify the needs of electricity consumers and their opinion on the need for energy resources. Chief ESG officer and vice-chairperson of the management board of Rail Baltica, Anrī Leimanis, presented the challenges of electrification of Rail Baltica, the most significant infrastructure project of the Baltic region. The nuclear fission project coordinator of the University of Latvia, Agris Auce, talked about the role of nuclear energy in the food industry, stressing that access to industrial heat could become one of the essential factors when choosing a place for a new production plant, and food producers will have to look for new sources of industrial heat. Ziona Laitsa, founder of the climate activism group Emergency Reactor and author of the book "The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting", provided a modern, science-based view of the safety and efficiency of nuclear power.
Participation in the conference was free. The conference was held online with simultaneous translation into Latvian and English.
Conference partners: AS Latvenergo, Fermi Energia OÜ, Generation Atomic, AS Sadales tīkls, Latvian Association of Electric Power Engineers and Power Builders ( LEEA), Latvian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia (ISSP UL), TVO, World Nuclear Association, Stand Up for Nuclear, SIA Odo.
The conference was organized by the Development and Innovation Training Center (AIMC).