OPG to collaborate further with Polish firm on SMR deployment in Europe

June 7, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Officials gather after OPG and OSGE signed a letter of intent on SMR deployment in Europe on June 2. (Photo: OSGE)

Ontario Power Generation—owner and operator of Canada’s Darlington and Pickering nuclear plants—and Poland’s ORLEN Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) have signed a letter of intent (LOI) that builds on the companies’ existing cooperation on the deployment of small modular reactors in Europe, OPG announced last week.

Established in December 2021 to prepare and commercialize SMR technology, OSGE is a joint venture between two Polish companies—Synthos Green Energy (SGE) and PKN Orlen (a firm active in the oil and gas sector).

The LOI was signed at Darlington’s new nuclear build site in conjunction with a visit to the site by Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Last December, the Ontario government commenced site preparation at Darlington for Canada’s first grid-scale SMR: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH’s) BWRX-300 boiling water SMR.

In its June 2 announcement, OPG said the LOI is aimed at future agreements under which the company could provide SMR operator services to OSGE as they deploy SMRs in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. The partnership would include a variety of SMR-related activities, including development and deployment, operations and maintenance, operator training, commissioning, and regulatory support.

The official words: “OPG has the knowledge and experience managing large energy projects to assist Poland as it begins producing electricity using nuclear power,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s president and chief executive officer. “Along with Ontario’s strong nuclear supply chain, we are well positioned to help others increase their energy security and meet climate change goals.”

Rafał Kasprów, OSGE CEO, praised OPG for its experience in the nuclear industry and its progress toward the deployment of the first BWRX-300 unit. “We benefit from the experience of the Darlington new nuclear project, and we are pleased that we can use [OPG’s] knowledge and support to deploy BWRX-300 reactors in Poland more efficiently,” he said. “Working together to develop an operating organization for the SMR fleet in Poland is the next step, with the possibility to expand into the U.K., as well as other parts of the European Union.”

In case you missed it: On March 23 in Washington, D.C., GEH announced that it will develop a standard design for the BWRX-300 with OPG, OSGE parent SGE, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Following the announcement, representatives of the four companies signed a technical collaboration agreement to invest in the development of the BWRX-300 standard design and detailed design for key components, including the reactor pressure vessel and reactor internals. According to a TVA press release on the announcement, GEH “anticipates a total investment of around $400 million associated with the development” and that cost will be met in part by contributions from OPG, SGE, and TVA.

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