Poland and South Korea strengthen co-operation including nuclear

18 July 2023

During his recent visit to Poland, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol attended the opening ceremony of the Korea-Poland business forum attended by some 250 business people from both countries where more than 30 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed. These strengthened cooperation in various areas including high-tech industries, energy, infrastructure and services, according to the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy. They included six MOUs related to nuclear cooperation.

Six agreements are on nuclear power generation, including two MOUs that South Korea's Doosan Enerbility signed with Polish companies on the construction of new nuclear power plants in the European country. Doosan, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co and several other South Korean companies, including Hyundai Engineering & Construction (HEC) and Daewoo Engineering & Construction are participating in the Polish project of building nuclear reactors at the Patnow power station.

During a press briefing, Yoon said he and Polish President Andrzej Duda agreed that nuclear energy development is the optimal means to achieve both energy security and carbon neutrality, and to actively support cooperation between the two countries' businesses for the successful construction of NPPs in Poland.

HEC signed a Preliminary Agreement on cooperation in the development Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR) technology in Poland jointly with Polish chemical company Grupa Azoty Zaklady Chemiczne Police (GAP) and US-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC).

The agreement envisages implementation of USNC’s MMR technology for use in the chemical industry, construction of an energy system based on modular reactors and the use of zero-emission nuclear energy to produce hydrogen.

HEC is an integrator of industrial energy technologies and provides implementation services for energy sources, including SMRs and their integration with the infrastructure of industrial customers. Together with USNC and other partners, HEC is developing a zero-carbon hydrogen production technology that extracts hydrogen by splitting water using electricity generated from nuclear power.

HEC, USNC and GAP also expressed their willingness to support each other and commit to the development and implementation of nuclear energy to mitigate the adverse effect of climate change.

“The agreement we signed today not only significantly strengthens our project by attracting an experienced partner such as HEC, but also strengthens our works towards implementation of nuclear technologies in chemical industry,” said Mariusz Grab, Vice President of the GAP Management Board.

“The document we signed sets the course of action we intend to take to facilitate the licensing of MMR technology in Poland. Seeking access to zero-carbon energy sources while decarbonising our own generation sources aligns with the Grupa Azoty Group’s Strategy for 2023-2030. Poland’s energy transition is not only about government action, but also about the changes that key Polish manufacturing companies such as Grupa Azoty are undertaking, including replacement of fossil fuels with zero-carbon sources of heat and electricity, gradual reduction of energy consumption or improvement of energy efficiency. The agreement is for us an important step in this direction.”

USNC is an integrated nuclear company that designs, licenses, produces, builds, develops and operates zero-carbon nuclear power solutions, among other things. The company has developed the Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR) technology using Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated fuel and has obtained patent protection for some of its related technologies. "This agreement is an important next step toward Poland's energy independence and decarbonisation efforts. We appreciate the continued interest and support of Grupa Azoty and our partner Hyundai Engineering Company in deploying USNC's high-temperature nuclear batteries at the GAP chemical plant,” said USNC CEO Francesco Venneri.

HEC CEO HyeonSung Hong welcomed continued collaboration with GAP and USNC. “Our company has extensive business experience in Poland. Building upon this experience, we will combine our acquired expertise and capabilities to generate synergistic effects, contributing to the establishment of green energy in Poland.”

Image: South Korean Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang (L) and Polish Minister of Economic Development & Technology Waldemar Buda (R) sign a MoU on establishing a Trade and Investment Promotion Framework between the two countries at the presidential palace in Warsaw as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (L, back row) and Polish President Andrzej Duda watch (courtesy of Yonhap)

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