Positive decision-in-principle for Polish SMR plan

18 July 2023

Polish metals company KGHM Polska MiedzKGHM has received a basic decision from the Ministry of Climate & Environment on its plans for construction of a small modular reactor (SMR) power plant. This represents official state approval for the planned investment and is the first step in the system for obtaining subsequent permits for siting and construction.

"Our goal is to ensure safe, ecological and price-stable energy, which will allow us to maintain KGHM's business edge on a global scale,” said KGHM President Tomasz Zdzikot. “We have strong support from the Ministry of State Assets and now the approval of the Ministry of Climate & Environment. This is of significant importance, because the introduction of nuclear technology based on small modular reactors, also supports the energy transformation of the Polish economy." KGHM is looking to diversify its energy sources. By 2030, 50% of its electricity will come from its own sources, including nuclear and renewables.

In 2022, KGHM signed a definitive agreement with US NuScale Power to initiate work for deploying a NuScale VOYGR SMR power plant in Poland by 2029. Also in 2022, KGHM applied to Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency (NAEA) to evaluate NuScale's SMR technology and prepare a site study. NuScale will continue to support KGHM's application to the NAEA through various activities including drafting additional preliminary safety analysis reports and coordinating with the NAEA. This paves the way for subsequent tasks in the Early Works Agreement proposed by NuScale to KGHM. The decision-in-principle is a general opinion on selected conditions enabling the construction of a VOYGR SMR with a capacity of 462 MWe consisting of six 77 MWe modules.

In 2020, NuScale's technology became the first SMR design to gain approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission NuScale offers VOYGR plants in four, six and 12-module configurations. KGHM’s application to the Ministry was prepared in part based on the project documentation, which had already received final certification in the US. In January this year, NuScale applied to the NRC for certification of the 77MW module, which it is expected to receive in 2024.

NuScale has also placed its first order for the production of pressure vessel components, and in May, South Korea’s Doosan Enerbility began producing forgings for the first 462 MW VOYGR-6TM power plant to be built in the US state of Idaho for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS).

KGHM’s application to the Ministry was on 14 April, which was the same day that Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe (PEJ) applied for a decision-in-principle on the construction of Poland's first large-scale. PEJ received a positive decision the day before KGHM. Later in April, Orlen Synthos Green Energy applied for a decision-in-principle on the construction of SMRs based on GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's BWRX-300 at six locations.

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