KGHM to cooperate on SMRs with industrial zone

16 June 2023

Polish copper and silver producer KGHM Polska Miedź SA has signed a letter of intent with the Legnica Special Economic Zone (LSEZ) to cooperate in research and development projects and investment initiatives related to small nuclear reactor (SMR) technology. The partners will discuss the possibility of potential joint involvement in the implementation of investment projects in the field of SMRs.

The signing of the letter of intent (Image: LSEZ)

The cooperation between KGHM and LSEZ will include, among others: analysis of available SMR technologies and identifying best practices in the field of conducting research and measurements in order to recognise the geological and geotechnical conditions of SMR locations. Joint actions will also be taken to support the development of SMRs in Poland, including changes in legislation related to public financing of such projects.

In February 2022, KGHM signed a definitive agreement with NuScale Power of the USA to initiate work towards deploying a first NuScale VOYGR SMR power plant in Poland as early as 2029. In July last year, KGHM submitted an application to Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency to evaluate NuScale's SMR technology and prepare a site study. KGHM is waiting for the Ministry of Climate and Environment to issue a general opinion on selected conditions enabling the construction of a six-module VOYGR plant.

The VOYGR nuclear power plant project that Poland will develop, in cooperation with NuScale, will have six modules, each with an installed capacity of 77 MWe. NuScale's SMR technology is the first to have gained approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in August 2020. NuScale offers VOYGR plants in 12, four and six-module configurations.

"KGHM is a company with a modern approach to transformation and pro-climate solutions. We are implementing our Climate Policy, the goal of which is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050," said KGHM President Tomasz Zdzikot. "We prove that small modular reactors are not only a vision of the future, but also a real answer to the energy needs of large industry. Cooperation with LSEZ is another step in the implementation of our assumptions."

"Available, safe, ecological and price-stabilised energy is our goal, which I believe can be achieved even faster in partnership with KGHM," said LSEZ President Przemysław Bożek. "It also strengthens the competitive advantage of our subregion as a place not only good for investing, but also stable, which is especially important for business. We have chosen the direction of 'new technologies' and we are consistently implementing it. The letter of intent that we signed with an experienced partner is one of the elements of the energy transformation of LSEZ."

The Legnica Special Economic Zone - in the Dolnośląskie Province in south-western Poland - has been operating since 1997 and is now home to 83 companies and more than 20,000 jobs.

In July last year, LSEZ signed a letter of intent with US SMR developer Last Energy and Poland's DB Energy on the construction of a power plant consisting of ten SMRs with a combined capacity of 200 MWe. The agreement also included a power purchase agreement with a minimum length of 24 years by LSEZ and its tenants.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News