In a significant development, Poland’s Climate Ministry has given its official approval for the construction of a small modular reactor (SMR) by the metals group KGHM. The announcement was made by Jacek Sasin, the state assets minister, who took to Twitter to share the news.
“We’ve got it! The construction of a small modular nuclear power plant in Poland by KGHM has been approved,” tweeted Sasin on Friday.
This decision serves as a crucial prerequisite for KGHM to proceed with applying for administrative permits and other necessary regulatory approvals required for the SMR project. It marks a pivotal first step for KGHM’s ambitious plan to construct a 462 MW modular nuclear power plant comprising six modules, each with a capacity of 77 MW.
KGHM had initially submitted the application for this decision in mid-April, and the recent approval now paves the way for further progress in the investment process.
Following Sasin’s announcement, Tomasz Zdzikot, the CEO of KGHM, issued a press release emphasizing the company’s objective of ensuring a reliable, environmentally friendly, and cost-stable energy source through the development of SMRs. Zdzikot stated that this strategic move would enable the Polish copper giant to maintain a competitive advantage globally in its business operations.
In 2022, KGHM entered into an agreement with NuScale Power, a US-based firm specializing in SMR technology, to collaborate on preliminary works for the development of SMR reactors. At the time, KGHM expressed its anticipation of launching its first reactors by 2029.
KGHM is not the sole Polish company venturing into SMR development. Another prominent player, multi-energy concern PKN Orlen, has partnered with chemicals firm Synthos to build BWRX-300 reactors based on GE Hitachi’s technology.
Poland’s recent emphasis on nuclear energy aligns with its goal of reducing dependence on fossil fuels, particularly Russian oil and gas imports, in light of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and its increasingly aggressive regional stance. Although Poland has managed to nearly eliminate Russian oil and gas imports, it remains a significant importer of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG).