OPG and OSGE enhance cooperation on SMRs

05 June 2023

Canada's Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will provide operator services to Poland's Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) under a letter of intent signed between the partners, extending their existing cooperation on the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs).

The signing of the letter of intent between OPG and OSGE (Image: OSGE)

The document was signed on 2 June at OPG's Darlington New Nuclear Project during a site visit by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

The letter of intent is aimed at concluding future agreements under which OPG and its subsidiaries could provide operator services for SMR reactors to OSGE in connection with the deployment of SMRs in Poland and other European countries. The partnership would include a number of SMR-related activities including: development and deployment; operations and maintenance; operator training; commissioning; and regulatory support.

"Building competences and training staff is one of the critical elements necessary to introduce nuclear energy in Poland, and OPG is the largest and most competent operator of nuclear power plants in Canada with over 50 years of experience," OSGE said.

In March, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), OPG and OSGE agreed to work together to advance the global deployment of the GEH BWRX-300 SMR through collaboration on development of a standard design.

A master services agreement was signed by Laurentis Energy Partners - a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of OPG - and OSGE in October 2022 to support the development and deployment of SMRs in Poland. The agreement enabled international collaboration between the two companies, beginning with early project planning.

"OPG has the knowledge and experience managing large energy projects to assist Poland as it begins producing electricity using nuclear power," said OPG President and CEO Ken Hartwick. "Along with Ontario's strong nuclear supply chain, we are well-positioned to help others increase their energy security and meet climate change goals."

"OPG is our key strategic partner," said OSGE CEO Rafał Kasprów. "We recognise the company's experience in the nuclear industry as well as its determination and progress in deploying the first BWRX-300. We benefit from the experience of the Darlington New Nuclear Project, and we are pleased that we can use the organisation's knowledge and support to deploy BWRX-300 reactors in Poland more efficiently.

"Working together to develop an operating organisation for the SMR fleet in Poland is the next step, with the possibility to expand into the UK as well as other parts of the European Union. We are looking forward to doing so with such a reputable partner."

Darlington site preparation

On 31 October last year, OPG submitted an application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a licence to construct a BWRX-300 at the Darlington site. This licence is required before any nuclear construction work on the SMR can begin. However, site preparation work is already under way at the site. OPG expects to make a construction decision by the end of 2024 and has set a preliminary target date of 2028 for plant operations.

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH's ESBWR boiling water reactor. The CNSC issued a positive decision in March, making the BWRX-300 the first SMR to complete such a pre-licensing Vendor Design Review in Canada.

OSGE plans to deploy a fleet of the BWRX-300 reactors in Poland, with the first unit ready before the end of this decade. For OSGE, OPG's Darlington SMR project is a reference project. In April, OSGE named seven shortlisted locations for further geological surveys to site SMRs. The company has applied to the Polish government for a Decision in Principle on six of the sites. It is now working through the regulatory process.

"The most modern nuclear solutions in the world will soon be developed in Canada and Poland," Prime Minister Morawiecki said. "This is a milestone in ensuring a stable source of energy supplies for Poland. This, in turn, is the basis for healthy, good and fast economic development for our country."

Expanding intergovernmental cooperation

"Both Canada and Poland are committed to the development of clean and renewable energy technologies that will foster energy security, advance our shared climate objectives, and lead to new commercial opportunities, including in off-shore wind," Morawiecki and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a joint statement.

"A particular area of focus for Poland is support for the development of civilian nuclear power. In this context, Canada and Poland are pleased to announce the launch of negotiations on a bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) which will supplement the existing Canada-Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community) NCA by enhancing trade and cooperation in the area of nuclear technologies, including technologies related to small modular reactors."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News