Six SMR power plants approved in Poland

08 December 2023

Poland's Ministry of Climate and Environment has issued decisions-in-principle for the construction of power plants based on GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) at six locations. A total of 24 BWRX-300 reactors are planned at the sites.

The locations applied for (Image: OSGE)

In mid-April, Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) announced it had shortlisted seven locations in Poland for further geological surveys to host SMR plants based on GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's BWRX-300, for which it holds the exclusive right in Poland. The locations were: Ostrołęka, Włocławek, Stawy Monowskie, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Nowa Huta, Tarnobrzeg Special Economic Zone and Warsaw.

OSGE submitted applications in late-April to the Ministry of Climate and Environment for decisions-in-principle on the construction of plants at six locations, omitting Warsaw from the list.

The ministry has now issued decisions-in-principle for the construction of a total of 24 BWRX-300 reactors at the six locations.

The decision-in-principle is the first decision in the process of administrative permits for investments in nuclear power facilities in Poland that an investor may apply for. Obtaining it entitles OSGE to apply for a number of further administrative arrangements, such as a siting decision or construction licence.

"The decisions we received are an important step towards deep decarbonisation of the Polish economy," Rafał Kasprów, President of the Management Board of OSGE, announced during the Net Zero Nuclear forum at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai. "It is symbolic that we received the decisions today - with carbon dioxide emissions in Poland reaching 928g CO2/kWh, the highest in Europe and one of the highest in the world.

"The decisions enable us to launch a programme to build a fleet of BWRX-300 reactors in Poland to provide zero-emission, stable energy sources for the energy, industry and heating sectors."

In December 2021, GE Hitachi, BWXT Canada and Synthos Green Energy (SGE) signed a Letter of Intent to cooperate in deploying BWRX-300 SMRs in Poland. OSGE - a joint venture between chemical producers SGE and PKN Orlen - submitted an application to Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency on 8 July last year for the assessment of the reactor design.

The Ministry of Climate and Environment has already issued decisions-in-principle for the construction of two large nuclear power plants: one for a 3750 MWe plant in Pomerania using Westinghouse's AP1000 technology, the other for a plant comprising two South Korean-supplied APR1400 reactors in the Patnów-Konin region.

A decision-in-principle has also been issued for copper and silver producer KGHM Polska Miedź SA's plan to construct a NuScale VOYGR modular nuclear power plant with a capacity of 462 MWe consisting of six modules, each with a capacity of 77 MWe.

The latest developments in Poland come amid speculation about what is going to be the next government's stance on nuclear energy, following elections in October. Opposition leader Donald Tusk has said that a coalition government of three opposition groups to be led by him will be formed by 12 December.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News