Poland approves six plants with Small Modular Reactors
December 19, 2023

Poland approves six plants with Small Modular Reactors

Poland's Ministry of Climate and Environment has taken a significant step in the pursuit of nuclear energy by issuing decisions-in-principle for the construction of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at six selected locations. The chosen technology is GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's BWRX-300, and the plan envisions a total of 24 reactors distributed across these sites.

In April, Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE), a key player in this initiative, had identified seven potential locations in Poland for further geological surveys aimed at hosting SMR plants based on the BWRX-300 technology, for which OSGE holds exclusive rights in the country. The shortlisted locations included Ostrołęka, Włocławek, Stawy Monowskie, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Nowa Huta, Tarnobrzeg Special Economic Zone, and Warsaw. Subsequently, OSGE submitted applications to the Ministry of Climate and Environment for decisions-in-principle for six locations, excluding Warsaw.

The Ministry has issued decisions-in-principle to authorize the construction of SMR plants based on the BWRX-300 technology

The recent decisions-in-principle granted by the ministry are crucial initial steps in the administrative process required for investments in nuclear power facilities in Poland. This milestone allows OSGE to proceed with further administrative arrangements, such as seeking a siting decision or obtaining a construction license.

Rafał Kasprów, President of the Management Board of OSGE, emphasized the significance of these decisions in the context of Poland's need for deep decarbonization. He announced this development during the Net Zero Nuclear forum at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai, highlighting the pressing issue of carbon dioxide emissions in Poland, which currently stands at 928g CO2/kWh—the highest in Europe and among the world's highest.

These decisions are of crucial significance in the context of Poland's need for deep decarbonization

Kasprów noted the symbolic timing of the decisions and outlined their implications for Poland's energy landscape. "The decisions enable us to launch a program to build a fleet of BWRX-300 reactors in Poland to provide zero-emission, stable energy sources for the energy, industry, and heating sectors," he stated.

The fleet of SMR reactors will provide zero-emission, stable energy sources for the energy, industry and heating sectors in Poland

This move towards SMRs in Poland was set in motion in December 2021 when GE Hitachi, BWXT Canada, and Synthos Green Energy (SGE) signed a Letter of Intent to cooperate in deploying BWRX-300 SMRs. OSGE, a joint venture between chemical producers SGE and PKN Orlen, subsequently submitted an application to Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency in July of the same year for the assessment of the reactor design.

Poland approves six plants with Small Modular Reactors

It should be pointed out that the Ministry of Climate and Environment had already granted decisions-in-principle for the construction of two large nuclear power plants—one utilizing Westinghouse's AP1000 technology with a capacity of 3750 MWe in Pomerania, and the other comprising two South Korean-supplied APR1400 reactors in the Patnów-Konin region.

The evolving landscape in Poland suggests a growing commitment to nuclear energy as a vital component of the country's future energy mix.

Source: World Nuclear News

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