GEH signs Poland SMR agreement; Orano wins EDF support contract

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know.

GEH signs agreement for SMR in Poland

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has reached an agreement to collaborate on the potential application of its BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) technology in Poland. GEH has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Synthos SA, one of Poland’s largest producers of chemical raw materials.

“Through our design-to-cost approach, we are designing the BWRX-300 to be cost-competitive with gas, renewables and other forms of power generation,” said Jon Ball, executive vice president of nuclear plant projects for GEH. “We applaud Synthos for its interest in small modular reactor technology and advocacy of clean-energy options for Poland.”

The BWRX-300 is derived from GEH's 1520 MWe Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) design, which received design certification from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2014.

GEH says the BWRX-300 will require up to 60% less capital cost per megawatt when compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.

Poland has plans to build its first large-scale nuclear power plant by 2033. Up to six reactors, with a combined capacity of 6-9 GWe, would be put into operation by 2043.

Orano wins support contract for EDF’s French fleet

Orano has just signed a contract worth EU100 million (US$111 million) with EDF to supply services for the nuclear power plants of Paluel (Seine Maritime), Civaux (Vienne) and Gravelines (Nord) until 2024, with an option of two additional years.

In partnership with Samsic and ARIS, Orano will be responsible for all industrial logistics to support operation of reactors on the Paluel and Civaux sites, including radiation protection, waste management and conditioning, and equipment management.

At Gravelines, Orano will work with ARIS to install and remove thermal insulators and scaffolding at four of the site's six reactors, during maintenance and nuclear fuel replacement phases.

Alain Vandercruyssen, Director of Orano Group's Dismantling and Services activities said the contract is a reflection of Orano’s ambition to grow its services offering for the nuclear industry.

“The trust placed in us by EDF, the world's leading nuclear operator, is a mark of recognition of the daily expertise demonstrated by our teams in the nuclear sector, whether in terms of site logistics or maintenance of sensitive equipment,” said Vandercruyssen.

Safety authority approves Sweden repository expansion

Sweden’s radiation safety authority has supported an application to expand a radioactive waste repository near the country’s Forsmark nuclear plant. The repository, which has been in operation since 1988, is run by Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management (SKB) and stores low and medium level radioactive waste. The Swedish government still has to take the final decision on the application.

SKB says the extended facility is needed to provide space for final disposal of low- and intermediate-level operational and decommissioning waste from four Swedish nuclear power plants that have already closed, while utility company Vattenfall plans to close two more reactors by the end of 2020.

A small fraction of the decommissioning waste is classified as long-lived waste and will be disposed of in the planned final repository for long-lived waste. SFL is planned to be in operation in the 2040s.

Sweden has plans for used fuel encapsulation and disposal repository, with SKB planning to start construction early in the 2020s. It will take around 10 years to complete.

Nuclear Energy Insider