Small Modular Reactors

Poland / Synthos And Ultra Safe To Cooperate On Microreactors For Commercial Use

By David Dalton
4 November 2020

Polish chemical giant wants to use the units at its European factories
Synthos And Ultra Safe To Cooperate On Microreactors For Commercial Use
The MMR energy system mockup. Courtesy GFP/USNC
Synthos Green Energy of Poland and US-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation have signed an agreement to assess the feasibility of using Ultra Safe’s 15-MW micro modular reactor (MMR) energy system to generate hydrogen, heat and power for use in Synthos’s chemical plants and for wider commercial use by various regional industrial manufacturing companies.

Synthos said the agreement is the latest step in its strategy to generate zero carbon emissions at its facilities. The MMR energy system will replace existing plants that use coal or natural gas. In developing the system, Ultra Safe is partnering with multiple, global industrial heavyweights including Hyundai Engineering.

The announcement follows the news last week that Synthos had begun discussions with Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) about a potential GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 small modular reactor project. Synthos and GEH recently signed a cooperation agreement that is focused on development and deployment of the BWRX-300. In addition to GEH, Exelon Generation, Fortum and CMS Legal in Warsaw are supporting Synthos in this process.

Michał Sołowow, owner of Synthos, is a former rally driver and one of the richest men in Poland. He has said that using SMRs to generate energy will improve the country’s chances of moving away from polluting coal and have a positive impact on industry.

The Ultra Safe MMR units could be used in Synthos’s chemical plants in Poland and other EU countries. Synthos Green Energy is part of Synthos S.A. Capital Group, which includes Synthos S.A., a leading chemical manufacturer based in Poland, with operations in the Czech Republic, Holland, and France.

USNC and Synthos said they have already jointly applied to the Polish Ministry of Development for project financing from the IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest) mechanism. The goal of the joint project is the development of an economically efficient, zero-emission, high-temperature heat and power source for the production of hydrogen on an industrial scale.

The Ultra Safe MMR is planned for full demonstration at the Chalk River site of the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, with the support of Canada’s largest nuclear operator, Ontario Power Generation. In Canada, the MMR is intended for off-grid and industrial applications, supplying heat and power for clean and reliable energy at a lower cost.

The MMR energy system incorporates one or several standardised microreactors with a heat storage unit and the adjacent plant for power conversion and use. The system can produce electrical power or process heat (or a mix of both), depending on configuration.

The MMR is a small high-temperature gas-cooled reactor generating 15 MW or 30 MW (thermal). It uses Ultra Safe’s proprietary, meltdown-proof FCM Triso fuel, which has been co-developed with INL and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Modules will be sized for standard International Standards Organisation shipping containers, which means they can be transported easily by ship, rail or road, including ice roads.

Poland has already said it wants to build from 6,000 to 9,000 MW of installed commercial nuclear capacity with operation of a first reactor unit in a proposed set of six earmarked for 2033.

The Polish secretary of state for strategic energy infrastructure Piotr Naimski recently signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with the US on the development of Poland’s $40bn nuclear power programme.

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