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PKN ORLEN and Synthos Green Energy to develop small nuclear reactors

Polish oil refiner and petrol retailer PKN ORLEN signed an investment agreement with Poland’s group Synthos Green Energy to set up a joint venture (ORLEN Synthos Green Energy) whose key aim will be to prepare and commercialise small nuclear reactor technology, particularly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300 reactors.

The project will offer an opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation of the ORLEN Group’s production assets while also helping to improve energy security and drive economic growth at home due to its reliance on local supply chains, in line with the company’s strategy and ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The wide array of activities the joint venture to carry out under the agreement includes promoting the technology, supporting the development of a relevant legal framework, exploring potential reactor sites, implementing joint projects and, ultimately, generating energy and heat using the technology for own, municipal and commercial needs.

“The European Union’s climate policy forces us to transform our energy sector,” said Jacek Sasin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Assets. “The investment agreement for the development of small nuclear reactors signed by PKN ORLEN is part of its plans to modernise the industry. It provides an opportunity for fast, efficient and safe decarbonisation. Nuclear will be the most stable energy source in the future.”

“Nuclear will be one of the cheapest energy generation sources,” agreed Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board. “We hope the first reactor to be deployed in Poland by 2030. A letter of intent has already been signed to outline the terms on which the first reactors would be supplied to Poland. Investment in micro and small nuclear reactors would support the further rapid growth of the ORLEN Group, helping it to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Modular reactors would be an attractive addition to the energy portfolio based on renewable energy sources and natural gas. Accelerated deployment of small nuclear reactors would enable us to better balance our generation asset portfolio and build a low-carbon and innovative energy generation segment. Our priority is to harness the potential of the Polish economy and local suppliers. We consider it vital that modular reactor projects be 50 per cent owned by Polish companies.”

The ORLEN Group is ideally positioned to commercialise modular reactors in Poland: it has access to a vast array of potential deployment sites, a long track record of implementing major capital projects and extensive experience in the deployment of cutting-edge energy generation technologies. The cooperation with Synthos Green Energy and the selection of BWRX-300 reactors, currently the world’s most advanced technology on its way to commercialisation, will enable faster and smoother implementation of the nuclear technology at the Group.

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