Poland pledges $40 billion for new nuclear; CNL, Kairos to jointly develop SMR

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Michal Kurtyka after being designated Climate Minister at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw (Source: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Poland plans to build six new nuclear power units by 2040 through investment of some $40 billion, the Polish Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka said in September.

The plan, which forms part of an updated “Poland’s Energy Policy until 2040”, is based on three pillars; a just transition, zero-emission energy system and good air quality, the government said in a statement. 

"The conclusions of the reports from the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) and IEA (International Energy Agency) clearly show the significant potential of nuclear energy to achieve measurable and radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale," said the climate minister during a World Nuclear Association discussion panel.

In 2033, the first nuclear unit, with a capacity of 1-1-6 GWe, will begin operation and five more units of a total capacity of 6-9 GWe will follow, according to the plan.

The plan will create some 300,000 new jobs in the country, with around 60,000 directly linked to nuclear energy, the minister said during the WNA panel. 

The minister also said that his ministry is talking to the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency to build a high-temperature, gas cooled research reactor which would form part of a hydrogen production plan. 

Hydrogen production as a by-product of nuclear power generation can help develop an alternative income stream for generators aiming to cut costs for nuclear power plants. 

“We see that a hydrogen economy can play an important role in the coming years, especially here in the European Union, and we are working hand-in-hand with other European countries as well as with the European Commission to build a hydrogen sector with industry and partners in Poland,” Kurtyka said. 

CNL, Kairos Power join forces on SMR research project

Canadian National Laboratories (CNL) and U.S.-based engineering company Kairos Power have entered into a collaboration agreement to develop and license Kairos’ fluoride-salt cooled, small modular reactor technology, the Canadian group said in a statement. 

The agreement includes the research and engineering of technologies to better separate, analyze and store tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, generated through the operation of Kairos Power’s proposed design and will be funded by CNL’s Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI), CNL said. 

“CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories is home to some of the world’s leading experts and unique lab facilities related to both hydrogen and tritium production, safety and storage; partnering with Kairos Power on this research is a very natural fit,” said CNL President and CEO Joe McBrearty. 

“With four projects now underway through our CNRI program, it’s clear that there is a need for this type of collaborative research and financing to advance SMR technologies here in Canada.”

The SMR design, known as Kairos Power FHR (KP-FHR), uses tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) fuel, a fully ceramic fuel that maintains structural integrity at high temperatures, combined with a low-pressure fluoride salt coolant. The heat generated through the nuclear reaction is then converted in to electricity through a flexible steam cycle, CNL explained.

Tritium is produced as a by-product of the reactor operations. 

UK announces £65 million for robot, battery research

The UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced a £65 million grant for research into high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, advanced medical treatments and robots for nuclear power stations. 

Of the investment, £15 million would go to enable universities, research organizations and businesses to build robots to inspect, maintain and repair nuclear power stations as well as robotics that are used to address new problems resulting from the pandemic, including ones that can be operated remotely and make contact-free deliveries or move hospital beds, the BEIS said in a statement. 

“I am delighted that the government has provided an extra £15 million funding to help academics and businesses bridge the gap to: complete on-going deliverables set against the Robots for a Safer World Challenge, and also; utilise knowledge gained to the benefit of new sectors, ahead of this Autumn’s spending review,” Challenge Director for Robotics for a Safer World Andrew Tyrer said. 

Rolls-Royce wins multi-million-euro contract with CNNC

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has awarded British engineer Rolls-Royce a multi-million euro to provide the Neutron Flux Monitoring System for two nuclear reactors under construction in China, the company said. 

Rolls-Royce will provide a complete system using the patented Spinline digital technology, including ex-core neutron detectors, cables and connections and associated electronic systems, to Zhangzhou 1 and Zhangzhou 2 reactors. Both reactors use the Hualong One (HPR1000) reactor design. 

Rolls-Royce’s I&C teams, based in Grenoble, France, will design, manufacture and test the system while CNNC, under supervision of the I&C teams, will perform on-site installation and commissioning, it said. 

The Neutron Flux Monitoring System measures the neutron flux of the reactor, continuously and instantly monitoring its power, power fluctuations and the axial and radial distribution within the reactor.

By Nuclear Energy Insider