BWRX300 (Photo Credit: GEH)Poland’s Synthos Green Energy (SGE) and US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced separately that SGE had submitted documentation to Polish regulator Państwowa Agencja Atomistyki (PAA – the National Atomic Energy Agency) with respect to GEH’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR).

The proposal was prepared in cooperation with Finnish Fortum Power and Heat Oy, US Exelon Generation and GEH as well as CMS Legal in Warsaw. SGE was established to develop and implement zero-emission technologies and electricity production from renewable energy sources for the Synthos Group, the largest private industrial group in Poland.

“The documentation submitted to the National Atomic Energy Agency will make it possible to define the scope of the full application for a general opinion on the organisational and technical solutions that will be used in the construction and operation of the power plant using BWRX-300 technology,” said Rafał Kasprów, president of SGE’s Management Board. “This is the first step and we are prepared to start the regulatory process together with PAA.”

Under the Polish Nuclear Act of 29 November 2000, before applying for a permit to construct a nuclear facility, a party such as SGE may ask PAA to issue a general opinion about the organisational and technical solutions to be applied in the construction and operation of a potential facility in Poland. SGE intends to request a general opinion and in advance of that has submitted to PAA a document describing technical attributes of the BWRX-300.

“With our design-to-cost approach, we believe the BWRX-300 is ideally positioned to help SGE and Poland meet the demand for clean, stable and affordable energy,” said Jon Ball, executive vice president of Nuclear Products for GEH. “We look forward to supporting SGE as it considers deploying this game-changing technology to meet the energy needs of its operations and help Poland achieve its goals for decarbonisation.”

“Obtaining the support of the development and implementation of SMR technology in Poland is extremely important,” said Ralph Hunter, managing director and chief operating officer of Exelon Nuclear Partners. “We believe that there is room for the development and deployment of both SMRs and large nuclear power plants in the Polish nuclear power programme. Producing clean, cheap and reliable power from nuclear power plants will bring significant benefits in meeting the goals of climate change and energy security for both government and industry.”

Olli Kymäläinen, head of new build and upgrades services at Fortum Power and Heat Oy, said Fortum was “very happy that we can be part of this process and support it with our knowledge and experience in the field of nuclear energy”.

Synthos said it had received information from PAA that the Department of Nuclear Safety had started working on the response.

At the beginning of 2019, the Synthos Group, owned by Michał Sołowow, was the first private company in the world to start talks with GEH on the possibility of building a BWRX-300 in Poland. A cooperation agreement was signed later in 2019, and in August 2020 Synthos Green concluded an agreement to become a Strategic Partner of GEH for the development and construction of the BWRX-300.

The BWRX-300 is a 300MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems based on the design and licensing of GEH’s US NRC-certified ESBWR. By leveraging the existing ESBWR design certification, utilising licensed and proven nuclear fuel designs, incorporating proven components and supply chains and implementing simplification innovations the BWRX-300 can, GEH believes, become cost-competitive with other forms of generation. The BWRX-300 is currently being considered by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Photo: BWRX-300 (Credit: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)