Poland is the newest country to jump aboard the small modular reactor (SMR) bandwagon as the state-owned utility company Industria recently signed a memorandum of intent with Rolls-Royce’s SMR arm for the construction and development of the country’s Central Hydrogen Cluster.
As part of Poland’s drive towards green and sustainable energy, the Cluster is expected to produce around 50,000 tons of low-carbon hydrogen per annum on completion.
While up to three SMRs may be deployed to help decarbonize the energy infrastructure throughout Eastern Europe, officials from Rolls-Royce SMR say that it’s also possible that around 8 gigawatts’ worth of coal-fired power plants in Poland’s southern region could be replaced by SMR-powered plants within the next decade.
Poland is currently in the process of switching to nuclear energy on a massive scale in order to meet its goal of achieving a carbon-free economy. Just last year, the Polish government chose the Westinghouse AP1000 for the initial phase of its six-reactor plan to build up to 9GWe capacity by 2040. It also signed a separate agreement with the South Korean firm Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power for a joint initiative with domestic firms Polska Grupa Energetyczna and ZE PAK for a nuclear plant in Patnow.
A Key European Market
Poland was one of Rolls-Royce SMR’s primary markets within Eastern Europe. According to its chief executive officer Tom Samson, signing the memorandum with Industria marked an important step in the process as this sets out the foundation that both parties will work on to develop plans for the use of SMR technology.
Eventually, such joint measures will help decarbonize energy-intensive industrial practices and give the country a long-term reliable source of clean power for decades to come.
For Samson, the partnership between Rolls-Royce and Industria also has a great deal of potential in terms of generating much-needed employment in both Poland and the United Kingdom. The initiative is in a position to generate several thousand high-skilled full-time jobs in terms of plant operation and maintenance, as well as the supply chain.
Industria’s chief executive Szczepan Ruman likewise extolled the partnership as he sees it as a great opportunity for the industrial sector in southern Poland as well as for Eastern Europe in general.
Ruman added that his firm aims to secure Poland’s active participation in the SMR sector and to secure clean power sources for use in the grid, heavy industry, and the sustainable production of clean hydrogen in areas like Lower Silesia, Silesia-Lesser Poland, and the Subcarpathian.