Sunday, September 25, 2022

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Poland and Romania to cooperate on small modular reactor projects

Polish copper and silver producer, KGHM Polska Miedź and Romania’s nuclear energy company Nuclearelectrica have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of small modular reactor (SMR) projects to strengthen energy security and support decarbonisation goals.

Last year, Romania said last it would partner with US firm NuScale Power to build small nuclear reactors, while KGHM signed an agreement with NuScale Power in February for the implementation of SMR technology in Poland, aiming to have the first one operational by 2029.

KGHM and Nuclearelectrica have agreed that in the next three years they will exchange experience and know-how regarding the technical, economic, legal, financial and organisational aspects of the development of SMRs.

“For KGHM, nuclear energy means energy independence and lower costs. The investment in SMRs is a priority, and will also enable us to maintain our competitive business advantage on a global scale,” said Marcin Chludziński, President of the Management Board of KGHM.

“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,” added the leader of KGHM.

Cosmin Ghita, the General Director of Nuclearelectrica underlined that 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 including modularity and flexibility, which have a direct impact on lower costs and lower development period.

“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 the international level,” said the General Director of the Romanian nuclear company.

The cooperation between the two companies will include various 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 that will strengthen energy security with a secure, stable, affordable and clean source of energy while also help to achieve decarbonisation goals.

The project that both Romania and Poland will develop, in cooperation with NuScale, will have 6 modules, each with an installed capacity of 77 megawatt-equivalent (MWe), 462 MWe, in total and will generate 193 permanent jobs in the plant, 1,500 construction jobs, 2,300 production jobs. This will help Romania avoid the emission of 4 million tonnes of CO2 per year into the atmosphere.

The first SMR in Poland – that KGHM plans to implement with NuScale this decade – will provide clean energy to the copper company’s production units. KGHM has already submitted an application to the National Atomic Energy Agency to evaluate the technology and prepare a site study.

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