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Thursday, Jul 25, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


AtkinsRéalis to bring small modular reactors to Poland

OSGE plans to expand its operations to more European jurisdictions in the future

AtkinsRéalis to bring small modular reactors to Poland
Image via Ontario Power Generation.

Canadian-based AtkinsRéalis (TSX: ATRL) teamed with Canadian contractor Aecon and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to deploy GEH’s BWRX-300 small modular reactors (SMR) in Poland.

On Monday, Ian Edwards, the president and CEO of AtkinsRéalis, called this initiative part of the company’s bid to position itself as a worldwide partner of choice for the deployment of nuclear power technology.

Orlen-Synthos Green Energy (OSGE), a Polish energy developer, also has agreements in place with AtkinsRéalis. If OSGE proceeds with the SMR plan, AtkinsRéalis could provide front-end engineering and consulting to install them at six sites.

OSGE is a joint venture between ORLEN, the largest multi-energy company in Central Europe, and Synthos Green Energy. It’s also the exclusive partner of GEH to market and deploy BWRX-300 SMRs in Poland.

OSGE plans to expand its operations to more European jurisdictions in the future. They are currently collaborating closely with Ontario Power Generation to enhance their SMR expertise. Poland’s energy regulators are consulting with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to develop the necessary regulatory and licensing framework to support nuclear power in the country.

“With global electricity demand tripling by 2050, we see there being a market for 1,000 new nuclear reactors to be built,” Joe St. Julian, President, Nuclear, AtkinsRéalis, said. “Alongside large reactors, SMRs will make up a portion of those new builds to provide the quantum of extra power needed.

“We will draw on our expertise from the ongoing successful deployment of the BWRX-300 SMR in Canada at Darlington to repeat the outcome for Poland. AtkinsRéalis looks forward to continued partnership with GEH for further deployment of BWRX-300 SMRs across the world.”

Read more: ATHA gives Riverboat Energy option to take majority interest in Vista uranium project

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Canada has had mixed reactions to SMRs

Small Modular Reactors are advanced nuclear reactors designed to be smaller in size and output compared to traditional nuclear power plants. They are typically defined as reactors with a capacity of less than 300 megawatts per module.

They provide a flexible and reliable source of low-carbon electricity. This contributes to global efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. SMRs are smaller and easier to deploy. They can be deployed in remote or off-grid locations where larger power plants may not be feasible.

Ontario isn’t alone in developing small modular reactors, either.

New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are working together to develop SMRs.

A December 2019 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between these provinces committed them to working together on advancing SMRs in Canada. This collaboration includes research, development, and deployment with the goal of providing clean energy, reducing emissions, and establishing Canada as a leader in SMR technology.

The Government of Canada invested $74 million in developing SMR in Saskatchewan. SaskPower, the province’s electricity regulator, chose the Hitachi BWRX-300 SMR reactor with an deployment date scheduled tentatively for 2034 and construction as early as 2030.

Recently, however, a former CEO of Arc Clean Energy Canada said it was time that N.B. Power started looking around for other options for SMRs than the two companies presently building them.

Norm Sawyer, an independent consultant to the nuclear industry and former ARC employee, suggests N.B. Power should explore other options to ensure more nuclear generation is on the provincial grid by 2030 or 2035. Sawyer emphasized the importance of strategic planning for N.B. Power, urging them to consider which nuclear technologies are most likely to be ready by their target dates.


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