Polish copper and silver producer KGHM Polska Miedz and Romanian nuclear power plant operator Nuclearelectrica have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during an Economic Forum in Karpacz, Poland for the development of small modular reactor (SMR) projects.

The two companies will exchange experience and know-how for 36 months in the technical, economic, legal, financial and organisational fields for the development of SMR projects to be developed by Romania and Poland.

"The international interest in the development of small modular reactors is directly proportional to the interest of countries to ensure energy security and achieve decarbonisation goals, given the innovative characteristics of this technology: modularity and flexibility, having a direct impact on cost reduction and the development period, Cosmin Ghiță, general manager of Nuclearelectrica, said. “Romania, with over 25 years of experience in the safe operation of its NPP, has already initiated the development of a NuScale SMR project, the only internationally certified SMR technology. We are happy to collaborate and share our experience and lessons learned and support KGHM in its first steps to implement safe, clean and innovative technology."

Marcin Chludziński, Chairman of the Board of Directors of KGHM Polska Miedź, noted, " For KGHM, nuclear energy means energy independence and lower costs. Investing in SMRs is a priority and will also enable us to maintain our competitive edge in business globally. The introduction of an innovative technology in the field of nuclear energy, based on small modules, represents a decisive event for the Polish economy. This cooperation with an experienced partner from Romania provides essential support for this development."

The MoU involves a comprehensive approach to all SMR project development activities, from site selection to decommissioning, with the aim of developing robust, safe and cost-effective SMR projects in Romania and Poland. As two of the first countries to join the effort to achieve energy independence with the help of one of the most advanced nuclear power technologies, NuScale's innovative small modular reactor technology, Romania and Poland will strengthen their energy security with a secure, stable, affordable and clean energy source while achieving its decarbonisation goals, a press release said.

The project that both Romania and Poland will develop, in cooperation with NuScale, will have six modules, each with an installed capacity of 77MWe – 462MWe in total – and will generate 193 permanent jobs within the plant, 1,500 of jobs in construction, 2,300 jobs in production and will help Romania avoid the emission of 4 million tons of CO2 a year.

KGHM, together with NuScale, plans to deploy SMR technology in Poland this decade. The first SMR in Poland will supply clean energy for the company's copper production facilities. In this regard, KGHM has already submitted an application to the National Atomic Energy Agency to evaluate the technology and prepare a siting study. Also, as in Romania, a simulator of an SMR control room (Education Centre – E2 Centre) will be established in Poland for the training of operators and specialists in the nuclear field.

Image: KGHM Polska Miedz and Nuclearelectrica sign MoU for the development of SMR projects in Romania and Poland (courtesy of KGHM)