Small Modular Reactors

Poland / Companies Sign MOU In Bid To Establish Fuel Supply For SMRs

By David Dalton
23 September 2021

A number of high-profile Polish business leaders have backed small reactor development
Companies Sign MOU In Bid To Establish Fuel Supply For SMRs
A computer generated image of a GEH BWRX-300 small modular nuclear plant. Courtesy GEH.
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), GEH SMR Technologies Canada, Cameco and Synthos Green Energy have entered into a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the potential establishment of a uranium fuel supply chain in Canada capable of servicing a potential fleet of BWRX-300 small modular reactors in Poland.

The MOU is the latest of a number of agreements signed in Poland related to the potential development and deployement of new reactor technology.

Synthos, a manufacturer of synthetic rubber and one of the biggest producers of chemical raw materials in Poland, has said it is interested in obtaining affordable, on-demand, carbon-free electricity from a dedicated source like an SMR. 

In 2019, Synthos and GEH agreed to collaborate on potential deployment applications for the BWRX-300 in Poland. The companies signed a strategic agreement in 2020 that further advanced that cooperation.

Cameco supplies uranium, uranium refining and conversion services to the nuclear industry worldwide. In July 2021, GEH, Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas and Cameco agreed to explore several areas of cooperation to advance the commercialisation and deployment of BWRX-300 SMRs in Canada and around the world.

“We believe nuclear energy will play a major role in helping countries and companies around the world achieve their net-zero emission targets,” said Cameco president and chief executive Tim Gitzel. “This MOU is a great example of the kind of innovative solutions businesses like Synthos Green Energy are exploring and how SMRs could contribute to industry-driven efforts to decarbonise.”

Rafał Kasprów, president of the Synthos Green Energy board said that in addition to this MOU, the company is working with GEH to identify supply chain opportunities in Poland that complement the export capabilities being developed in Canada for the BWRX-300.

The BWRX-300 is a 300-MW water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that uses elements of the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US-certified economic simplified boiling water reactor (ESBWR) nuclear plant. GEH says the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW when compared to other SMR designs.

Earlier this month, Synthos Green Energy and ZE Pak announced they will work together to explore building BWRX-300 SMRs at the site of the Patnow coal plant about 200 km west of Warsaw.

ZE Pak, the largest private energy group in Poland, and Synthos Green Energy said they had signed an investment agreement to explore building GEH BWRX-300 plants or “other optimal American SMR technologies”.

ZE Pak is owned by billionaire Zygmunt Solorz and Synthos Green Energy by former rally drive Michal Solowow, who also owns parent company Synthos.

In a related development, Polish chemicals giant Ciech SA has signed a letter of intent with Synthos Green Energy to cooperate on the possible development of small and micro modular reactors for industrial use.

Daniel Obajtek, president of state oil and petrol company PKN Orlen, recently became the latest of a number of high-profile Polish businessmen and entrepreneurs to announce their support for SMRs. He said SMRs are not a technology “from space” and could be part of Poland’s long-term strategic energy planning.

Separately, the Polish government wants to build from 6,000 to 9,000 MW of installed nuclear capacity based on proven, large-scale, pressurised water nuclear reactors of the Generation III and III+ design. Commercial operation of a first nuclear reactor unit in a proposed set of six is earmarked for 2033. Warsaw has not yet announced a technology or investor tender for the project.

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