Polish fuels concern PKN Orlen and Michal Solowow's Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) have teamed up with the National Fund for Environmental Protection & Water Management (NFOSiGW) to cooperate in the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs). NFOSiGW announced earlier that together with OSGE they will work to prepare, construct and commercialise nuclear energy facilities utilising US BWRX-300 GE Hitachi (GEH) reactors.
The agreement assumes that in 2029-2036 in Poland a SMR power plant system will be created with a total capacity of approximately 10,000 MWe, each small NPP will consist of at least one power unit with 300 MWe electrical power and 870 MWt heat output. The construction of SMR power plants in 10 selected locations is planned initially. The designed lifetime of each facility is 60 years.
NFOSiGW said: "The SMR nuclear power plant can be built within 24-36 months on a site that is only 10% of the land of a large nuclear power plant. The nuclear island will only occupy the area of a football field. Due to significantly lower capital expenditures and the speed of building the BWRX-300 reactor from modules, the programme of creating a network of small NPPs is currently considered the most effective and fastest way to transform the Polish energy and heating sector towards decarbonisation and achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions."
Orlen's CEO Daniel Obajtek had said earlier that PKN Orlen aims to launch 79 SMRs by 2038. OSGE deputy CEO, Dawid Jackiewicz said the first reactor will be built by 2030. The parties to the agreement are to agree on environmental goals, the economic model for the project, the implementation schedule, the business plan and provisions for investment.
"Our cooperation will involve joint financing and cost sharing of the undertaking," NFOSiGW deputy CEO Artur Michalski told a press conference. “In addition to being a government institution for the Minister of Climate & the Environment, and thus providing government support and cooperation, we are a financial institution, he noted. NFOSiGW will become a shareholder of a company that will build small nuclear reactors in Poland by recapitalising it, he explained. "We have domestic and foreign funds, primarily EU… but we intend to base this undertaking on domestic funds," he said. "Our goal is to co-finance this venture with stable capital…. We do not expect to enter into majority participation or shareholding. In general, we want to ensure financial security."
OSGE President Rafal Kasprów said that the company's ambition is to build a fleet of SMR reactors in Poland, adding that the scale of the project should minimise construction costs. "An important price element in this project is that we are talking about a heat source and a power source that is decarbonised. Today, CO2 prices are €90, sometimes exceeding €100 euros. As a result, the reactor would pay for itself reactor within 25 years.
Synthos has been working on the use of BWRX technology in Poland since 2019. In 2020, Synthos Green Energy (SGE) became GEH’s strategic partner for the development and construction of the BWRX-300. PKN Orlen also established cooperation with SGE, establishing a joint venture (JV) Orlen Synthos Green Energy. In July 2022, OSGE submitted to the State Atomic Energy Agency an application for an overall opinion on the BWRX-300 technology.
The European Commission (EC) recently approved the establishment of OSGE noting that the JV will develop and deploy small and micro modular reactors (MMRs), explore potential reactor sites, and, once the nuclear power plants are operational, commercialise SMR/MMR-generated electricity in Poland. The EC concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given its very limited impact on the market. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Image courtesy of www.gov.pl