Nuclear Politics

Poland / Warsaw Begins Transboundary Consultations On Small Modular Reactor Plans

By Kamen Kraev
5 September 2023

Orlen Synthos Green Energy wants to build reactor in south of country

Warsaw Begins Transboundary Consultations On Small Modular Reactor Plans
OSGE has announced seven potential locations for deployment of BWRX-300 SMR technology. Courtesy GEH.

Poland has begun a transboundary consultation process on plans by Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) to build a small modular reactor plant at the Stawy Monowskie site in the south of the country, the company said.

OSGE said on social media that the General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDOS), which is responsible for the process, sees consultations with the Czech Republic and Slovakia as justified, while Austria has expressed a willingness to participate in the process.

It is up to GDOS to identifies the possibility of a significant transboundary environmental impact of a given project. This information is sent to the countries potentially interested in participating in the transboundary procedure.

The 1997 Espoo Convention sets out rules for assessing the environmental impact of activities – including nuclear power plants – at an early stage of planning. It lays down the general obligation of states to notify and consult each other on all major projects that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries.

In April, OSGE announce seven locations for deployment of the BWRX-300 SMR technology, which is being developed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.

The first plant will be deployed at Stawy Monowskie, about 70 km from Poland’s southern borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Austria shares borders with both Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but not with Poland. Austria’s northeastern border is about 300 km from Poland.

Other sites include Wloclawek in central Poland, Ostroleka in northeastern Poland, Stalowa Wola near Warsaw, the Nowa Huta area of Krakow, near the border with the Czech Republic in southern Poland, Tarnobrzeg special economic zone in southeastern Poland and Dabrowa Gornicza, southern Poland.

Local media recently reported that GDOS has revised its deadline for issuing an environmental decision for the Stawy Monowskie project to 30 November 2023. Transborder consultations form part of these proceedings.

In June, GDOS said it had started an environmental decision process for the proposed new-build project. OSGE said it had asked the directorate to define the scope of an environmental impact assessment the company will have to prepare for the project.

On 27 April, OSGE also applied for a decision-in-principle to the Polish Climate and Environment Ministry for its BWRX-300 deployment plans. A decision-in-principle would formally confirm that nuclear new-build investments will be in line with the public interest and Warsaw’s energy policy.

OSGE was established in 2022 as a joint venture between Synthos Green Energy and PKN Orlen. GEH and Synthos announced in October 2019 an agreement to collaborate on potential deployment applications for the BWRX-300 SMR in Poland.

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