New venture is focused on GEH’s BWRX-300 reactor technology PKN Orlen and Synthos Green Energy have signed an agreement establishing a joint venture that aims to commercialise microreactor and small modular reactor technologies in Poland, in particular GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH) BWRX-300.

PKN Orlen, a state-controlled fuels and energy company, said in a statement that the new venture will be called Orlen Synthos Green Energy. Synthos is a chemicals company and part of the largest private industrial group in Poland.

GEH and Synthos announced in October 2019 an agreement to collaborate on potential deployment applications for the BWRX-300 SMR in Poland. 

Synthos has said it is interested in nuclear power for obtaining affordable, on-demand, carbon-free electricity.

The agreement covers a number of areas of reactor development and deployment, including financing, site selection and the production of energy and heat for the companies’ own needs and for municipal and commercial customers.

“This is an opportunity not only to accelerate the decarbonisation of the Orlen Group’s production assets, but also to ensure energy security and the development of the domestic economy through the use of the Polish supply chain,” PKN Orlen said.

PKN Orlen president and chief executive officer Daniel Obajtek said in an interview with Rzeczpospolita magazine in October that the company was in negotiations to complete an investment agreement related to the deployment of SMRs Poland.

Mr Obajtek said at the time that talks were very advanced with Synthos, which he said has exclusive rights to GEH SMR technology in Poland.

In June, PKN Orlen announced it had signed an initial agreement to cooperate with Synthos on the development and implementation of SMR and micro modular reactor projects.

In September, Synthos and Poland-based private equity group ZE Pak said they would work together to explore building BWRX-300 or other US SMRs at the Patnow coal plant site, about 200 km west of Warsaw.

The BWRX-300, a 300-MW water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems, makes use of the design and licensing basis of GEH’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, or ESBWR. Through significant design simplification, GEH believes the BWRX-300 will require up to 60% less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.

The ESBWR design was certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in October 2014.

GEH is a nuclear venture between Japan’s Hitachi and General Electric of the US.

Date: Wednesday, 08 December 2021
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