Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Poland’s Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to support the deployment and operation of small modular reactors (SMRs) in Europe. The signing took place at OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project in conjunction with a site visit by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

OPG President and CEO Ken Hartwick noted that OPG has the knowledge and experience managing large energy projects to assist Poland as it begins producing electricity using nuclear power. “Along with Ontario’s strong nuclear supply chain, we are well-positioned to help others increase their energy security and meet climate change goals,” he said.

OPG said the LOI serves as a next step in the companies’ existing relationship and builds on previously executed agreements between OPG and OSGE. It is aimed at future agreements under which OPG and its subsidiary could provide SMR operator services to OSGE as they deploy SMRs in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. The partnership would include a number of SMR-related activities including:

Development and deployment;Operations and maintenance;Operator training;Commissioning; andRegulatory support.

OPG and its Polish partner recently joined the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and GE Hitachi (GEH) Nuclear Energy in a technical collaboration agreement to advance global deployment of GEH’s BWRX-300 SMR. The four companies are investing in developing the BWRX-300 standard design and detailed design of key components.

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s ESBWR which has US Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification. As a result of design simplification, GEH claims the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW compared with other SMR designs.

The first BWRX-300 reactor is being built in the Toronto suburb of Darlington, and construction is scheduled for completion in 2028 and preparatory work is underway. This is the reference project for OSGE, which is a joint venture company established by chemical producers PKN Orlen and Synthos Green Energy (SGE) to pursue deployment of SMRs in Poland.

In December 2021, GE Hitachi, BWXT Canada and SGE signed a LOI to cooperate in deploying BWRX-300 SMRs in Poland. The aim is to deploy the first BWRX-300 in 2029 and to have at least 10 in operation by the early 2030s. OPG subsidiary, Laurentis Energy Partners, in October 2022 signed a Master Services Agreement with OSGE to support the implementation of the project. In April, OSGE applied to Poland's Ministry of Climate for a decision-in-principle on the construction of plants based on BWRX-300 SMRs at six locations. In May, the company received a positive general opinion from the President of the National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) regarding selected technical assumptions for the BWRX-300 reactor technology as part of the pre-licensing process.

“OPG is our key strategic partner. We recognise the company's experience in the nuclear industry as well as its determination and progress in deploying the first BWRX-300,” said OSGE CEO Rafal Kasprów. “We benefit from the experience of the Darlington New Nuclear Project, and we are pleased that we can use the organisation’s knowledge and support to deploy BWRX-300 reactors in Poland more efficiently. Working together to develop an operating organization for the SMR fleet in Poland is the next step, with the possibility to expand into the UK as well as other parts of the European Union.”

Image: Ontario Power Generation and Orlen Synthos Green Energy at the signing ceremony (courtesy of OSGE)

Date: Tuesday, 13 June 2023
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