Polish state-owned mining company KGHM signed an agreement with the U.S. NuScale Power LLC company to build at least four nuclear power plants.
According to the agreement, the U.S. partner is meant to build several nuclear reactors using the small modular reactor (SMR) technology. KGHM requires at least four nuclear power plants, and the company assumes that the first of the plants will be operational in eight years’ time — in 2029.
The concept of SMRs first appeared a decade ago in the U.S. as a solution to the high costs of constructing large nuclear reactors. Is the construction of such a reactor in Poland within eight years realistic? The technology is considered very innovative, as only three such reactors are currently operating throughout the world.
According to CEO of KGHM Marcin Chludziński, SMR technology is accelerating and it is possible that the time required to construct one of the reactors will be less than the aforementioned eight years.
“Access to cheap energy is a Polish raison d’etat. The growing prices of energy are forcing us and other energy companies to search for stable energy sources, hence our cooperation with NuScale Power,” he said.
KGHM is currently the seventh-largest copper producer in the world and the second-largest energy consumer in Poland. Therefore, the price of energy is a key factor which influences the company’s efficiency and profit margins.
Chludziński emphasized that the new agreement with the company’s U.S. partner is only the first step in this area. The company hopes that this endeavor will not only give access to SMR technology, but also a chance to develop it as part of the company’s resources.
Deputy Minister of State Assets Karol Rabenda declared that Poland was on the threshold of its energy transformation and announced the construction of both offshore and land wind farms.
“We want green, clean, pro-environment energy that is also stable and safe. We want to develop nuclear energy alongside renewable energy,” he said.
In January, another state-owned giant, PKN Orlen, signed a framework agreement with Synthos to develop SMR technology. Synthos is owned by Polish billionaire Michał Sołowow.
At the end of August, Sołowow and another Polish billionaire, Zygmunt Solorz, announced that they will build a nuclear reactor based on the SMR technology.