GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy said Monday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Poland's Synthos SA to promote collaboration on potential deployment applications for GEH’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor in Poland.
Synthos, a manufacturer of synthetic rubber and one of the biggest producers of chemical raw materials in Poland, is owned by the country's richest man, Michal Solowow. A GEH press release said Synthose "is interested in obtaining affordable, on-demand, carbon-free electricity from a dependable, dedicated source.
The BWRX-300 is a designed to be cost-competitive with gas, renewables and other forms of power generation. "We applaud Synthos for its interest in small modular reactor technology and advocacy of clean-energy options for Poland," said Jon Ball, Executive Vice President of Nuclear Plant Projects for GEH.
“Small modular reactors can play a significant role in addressing Poland’s energy challenges, the modernization of the nation’s energy sector and in achieving necessary and responsible deep decarbonization,” Solowow commented. “Utilizing small modular reactors to generate clean energy will improve our chances to move away from coal and have a positive impact on our industry and nation.”
The BWRX-300, a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems, leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s U.S. NRC-certified ESBWR. Through significant design simplification, GEH projects the BWRX-300 will require up to 60 percent less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.
By leveraging the ESBWR design certification, utilizing licensed and proven nuclear fuel, incorporating proven components and supply chains and implementing simplification innovations, GEH believes that the BWRX-300 can become cost-competitive with power generation from combined cycle gas plants and renewable energy platforms.
Polish newspapers have quoted Solowow as saying that the first 300 MWe reactor will be built in Poland within 10 years and cost less than $1 billion. The Polish government, meanwhile, is working on the development of a full-scale nuclear power plant with the largest hurdle proving to be financing for the project. Currently, coal-dependent Poland does not have any commercial nuclear power plants.
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I'm the UK's biggest fan and advocate of the BWRX-300 and started a facebook group about 12 months ago. This is what I say in the 'Description' of the Group:
"...GE-Hitachi's BWRX-300 Small Modular Reactor [SMR] is a uniquely simple design of advanced nuclear power plant [npp], and therefore more cost-effective than any other SMR in the 2020s/2030s 'pipeline'. It is highly likely it may never be possible to design a more economical npp.
In early May 2019, the Commercial Operation Date [COD] for this 300 MW npp was moved forward from 2030 to 2028.
This means by 2030/31, the BWRX-300 could be available at a capital cost of US$2,000/kW, which is 1/3rd of the cost of US 'Big Nuclear', under 1/4 of the cost of Hinkley Point C and competitive to gas.
See this blog post for an interesting comparison of 100% of the UK's low-carbon, 24/7 electricity being supplied by BWR-300 npps or a reasonably 'sensible' mix of onshore wind, offshore wind, solar pv and CCGT backup:
New members always welcome..."
The $2000/Kw capital cost is nothing but a guess put out by GE-Hitachi. Anyone that believes that figure is looking through "rose colored glasses".