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Six Polish universities, energy firm PKN Orlen and the Ministry of Education have signed a letter of intent for the roll-out of new nuclear energy-related courses to begin in the coming academic year. It comes with the country having plans for at least six reactors, plus "several dozen" small modular reactors (SMRs).


Minister of Education and Science Przemysław Czarnek said nuclear energy was the "energy sector of the near future" and “science must support business, support entrepreneurship, it must support the economy”.

The ministry estimates 100 specialist jobs are created by each power plant with an SMR and, with plans to build a fleet of GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300 SMRs, that means "at least several thousand jobs".

The aim is to get the first SMR built by the end of the decade so "in the near future, we will need engineers and high-class specialists to operate the planned nuclear power plants … educating specialists in this field is one of the most important challenges for the development of nuclear energy in Poland".

The ministry adds that as well as nuclear specialists, there will be growing demand for "chemists, electrical engineers, chemical technology specialists, security and environmental protection specialists, cybersecurity specialists, scientists, and crisis response services". There is also the challenge of filling the necessary specialist roles during the construction process.

The letter of intent was also signed by Daniel Obajtek, for Orlen, who was reported by Poland’s PAP news agency as telling reporters the company had plans for 76 SMRs, in 26 locations, by 2038.

He was quoted as saying that the "ambitious plan" would be "the largest energy investment in Poland but also in Europe" and the potential locations would be announced during the coming months.

The universities who signed the letter of intent were Poznań University of Technology, Silesian University of Technology, Gdańsk University of Technology, AGH University of Science and Technology Stanisław Staszic in Krakow, Warsaw University of Technology, and Wrocław University of Science and Technology.

Poland has ambitious plans to embrace nuclear energy. The government chose Westinghouse's AP1000 for the first part of the country's six-reactor plan to build up to 9 GWe capacity by 2040. South Korean's Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power have agreed a separate plan for a nuclear power plant in Patnow with Polish companies ZE PAK and Polska Grupa Energetyczna.

There are also various initiatives to bring SMRs to Poland, in various stages of progress - EDF last month signed an agreement with Respect Energy about developing nuclear power projects based on the Nuward SMR technology. In July 2022, Orlen Synthos Green Energy - a joint venture between chemical producers Synthos Green Energy and PKN Orlen - submitted its application to Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency for an assessment of the SMR technology. At the time the stated aim was for at least 10 of the reactors in operation by the early 2030s. On the same day last July, copper and silver producer KGHM Polska Miedz SA submitted a similar application for NuScale's VOYGR SMR.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Friday, 03 February 2023
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