Romanian-Polish cooperation on NuScale SMR deployment

07 September 2022

Romanian utility Nuclearelectrica and Polish copper and silver producer KGHM Polska Miedź SA have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the development of small modular reactors (SMRs). Both companies have previously signed agreements with NuScale of the USA on the deployment of its SMR technology.

The signing of the MoU (Image: KGHM)

The MoU - signed on 6 September during the Economic Forum in Karpacz, Poland - aims at the exchange of experience and know-how, with a duration of 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 agreement "involves a comprehensive approach to all activities in the development of an SMR project, from site selection to decommissioning, with the aim of developing robust, safe and cost-efficient SMR projects in Romania and Poland," the companies said.

"The international interest in the development of small modular reactors is directly proportional to the interest of countries in ensuring energy security and achieving decarbonisation targets, given the innovative characteristics of this technology: modularity and flexibility, having a direct impact on lower costs and lower development period," said Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita. "Romania, with more than 25 years of experience in the safe operation of its nuclear power plant, has initiated the development of a NuScale SMR project, the only SMR technology certified at international level. We are happy to collaborate and share our experience and lessons learned and support KGHM in their steps for deploying a safe, clean and innovative technology."

"For KGHM, nuclear energy means energy independence and lower costs," said Marcin Chludziński, President of the Management Board of KGHM Polska Miedź. "The investment in SMRs is a priority, and will also enable us to maintain our competitive business advantage on a global scale. The introduction of innovative nuclear energy technology, based on small modules, is a watershed event for the Polish economy. This cooperation with an experienced partner from Romania provides substantial support to the venture."

The VOYGR nuclear power plant projects that both Romania and Poland will develop, in cooperation with NuScale, will have six modules, each with an installed capacity of 77 MWe. NuScale's SMR technology is the first to have gained approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in August 2020. NuScale offers VOYGR plants in 12, four and six-module configurations.

Nuclearelectrica and NuScale are cooperating with the US Trade and Development Agency on a series of engineering and design activities and studies, as well further technical analyses of the Doicești site, a former thermal power plant site which has been identified as a potential location for the SMR plant. The study, started in June, is expected to take eight months and cost USD28 million in total, and with contributions from Nuclearelectrica and NuScale. According to Nuclearelectrica, the SMR plant will generate 193 permanent jobs in the plant, 1500 construction jobs, 2300 production jobs and will help Romania to avoid the generation of 4 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

In February this year, KGHM - which submitted an application to Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency on 8 July to evaluate the technology and prepare a site study - signed a definitive agreement with NuScale to initiate work towards deploying a first NuScale VOYGR SMR power plant in Poland as early as 2029. The first task under that agreement will identify and assess potential project sites and develop project planning milestones and cost estimates.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News