Poland's Orlen to name Small Modular Reactor sites by year-end

Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Poland's state-owned fuel company PKN Orlen will announce 13 more locations for BWRX-300 small modular (nuclear) reactors (SMRs), the company’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, said on Wednesday.

In mid-April, Obajtek announced seven preliminary sites where Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE), a special purpose vehicle created by Orlen and the Polish chemical firm Synthos, could build BWRX-300 reactors designed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH).

The locations included the vicinity of Ostroleka (north east), Wloclawek (central north), Stawy Manowskie, Dabrowa Gornicza and Nowa Huta (all south), the Tarnobrzeg-Stalowa Wola special economic zone (south east) and Warsaw.

Obajtek told a press conference on Wednesday that work was underway to assess further locations for SMRs reactors and added that some, after initial analysis, did not qualify "for further steps."

He also cited a survey conducted by the researcher that showed than 56 percent of respondents had no problem with SMRs being built near their place of residence.

"This shows there is full social consent to SMR technology in the country," Obajtek said.

Dawid Jackiewicz, vice-president of OSGE, told reporters that the company had submitted to the National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) "a total of several thousand pages of documentation showing how the operational safety of a nuclear power plant with SMRs is to be guaranteed."

"Based on the documents presented by us, PAA sees no problems and positively assesses the guidelines we have adopted regarding nuclear safety ... This is a signal... to implement the project without any delay," he added.

By 2030, Orlen Synthos Green Energy is to build at least one unit based on BWRX-300 technology, which will become only second facility in the world using this type in the world after a plant operating in Darlington Canada.

The company has exclusive rights for this technology in Poland.

The BWRX-300 is a boiling water reactor developed as a joint venture between the American company GE and Japan's Hitachi. Due to its small power, 300 MWe, it is included in the SMR class. The power of traditional, "large" reactors is usually in the range of 600-1500 MW.