Poland also builds mini-nuclear plants: “Nuclear energy can fill the energy conversion gap”

Poland also builds mini-nuclear plants: "Nuclear energy can fill the energy conversion gap"

In Poland, two companies, copper manufacturer KGHM and Synthos, which produces polystyrene foam, are going to work with small modular SMR nuclear reactors. So far, more than 70 companies around the world have been involved in unique SMR projects. So the popularity of “small-scale atomic energy” seems to be increasing. Still not everyone wants to jump on the train.

The KGHM CEO warns that finding cheap energy sources is “of national importance” for the Polish business. That is why the copper manufacturer plans to build four small modular reactors.

KGHM, Poland’s second-largest power consumer, says nuclear reactors will be self-sufficient in energy production, says CEO Marcin Kludzinski. They need to protect the company from volatile energy prices.

SMR is to be produced by the American group NewsKay. The first will come in 2029.

“In order to compete globally, we need to provide the cheapest electricity possible to energy-intensive companies like ours,” he said in an interview with the United States. Financial Times.

“This is not only a challenge for us, (…) it is a challenge for all companies in Poland. This is because if energy at this rate continues to be more expensive, our ability to invest will decrease.

Coal

Poland is one of the most coal – dependent economies in the European Union. Last year, the Central European country produced about 70 percent of its energy from fossil fuels.

But now that the European Union has tightened its climate targets and increased the cost of CO2 emissions, companies are looking more for a cheaper and more sustainable power supply. A number of small modular reactors (SMRs) have shown interest.

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In August, two of Poland’s richest men, Mikhal Solov, who controls a chemical group called Synthos, and Sigmund Solars, who owns a majority stake in Polsat and energy group ZE PAK, finally announced a plan to start their own business. This decade. Build your own SMRs.

Synthos also signed technology agreements with PKN Orlan, a state oil refinery in Poland, and CH, a group of chemicals controlled by billionaire Sebastian Kulsik.

“Was severely punished”

Kludzinski believes that Poland was punished “very severely” because energy still relied heavily on coal. But he believes technology like SMR will help accelerate the country’s energy and energy conversion.

“The poles are very flexible. If it turns out that we have competing conditions and they cannot be changed, we can adapt very quickly.

The agreement between KGHM and Newscale, signed in Warsaw last week, allows the construction of four SMRs with a capacity of 77 MW (megawatts) by the end of 2030. But there is also an opportunity to increase the number of units to 12. , Which will generate about 1 gigawatt (GW) of electricity.

Chludzinski believes the side effects of making KGHM an energy producer – the cost of the project has not yet been determined. But he claims that was not the purpose of the operation.

“We are not moving from a copper producer to an energy company. We are mainly focusing on copper,” it is heard.

The attraction of SMRs

A major attraction of SMR reactors is that they can be factory built and shipped later. Thus, more energy can be added as the energy demand increases.

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Reactors have a capacity of 50 to 300 megawatts, but can combine to generate up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Additionally, one of the modules can be repaired without completely stopping the malfunction. This reduces the environmental risk and cost of the project – which is often criticized by energy companies and nuclear competitors.

There is no escape

Of course, the rivals of nuclear power will be the rivals of SMRs. Geert Verbong, a professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU / e), was not convinced. “The fact is that these types of SMR reactors have never been used anywhere on a large scale,” it says in an independent press release. The origin of innovation. “They are still in the testing phase. And they face the same problems as the big nuclear power plants, both current and new generation, which means that rivals see no point in that,” he concludes.

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