Orlen said it will gain access to SMR technologies and experience, while Synthos will acquire a "solid partner" for joint development of small nuclear power plants in Poland.
"The agreement will pave the way for possible future establishment of a joint venture between the two groups to develop zero-emission energy projects," Orlen said. "Delivery of the objectives set out in the agreement will further the Orlen Group's strategic goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, while improving Poland's energy security.
"We are open to innovative solutions that would build the value of the Orlen Group in the coming years, solidifying its position as Central Europe's energy transition leader," said PKN Orlen President Daniel Obajtek.
"Realising the great potential of SMRs, we have decided to sign the cooperation agreement with Synthos that is being announced today. We can see in SMRs a potential source of energy both for our own refining and petrochemical operations, and for third parties. SMRs would also provide process heat and support the pursuit of the Orlen Group's hydrogen strategy. Working to develop SMR technologies, we have a chance to secure a source of zero-emission energy, but also to strengthen Poland's economy and energy security."
Synthos President Zbigniew Warmuz added: "Thanks to the agreement just signed between the Orlen Group and Synthos, Poland has a chance of securing cutting-edge technologies for zero-emission nuclear power. Their deployment is extremely important to both companies, as well as to Polish industry in general, faced with the challenge of cutting greenhouse gas emissions without compromising the competitive position of Polish business on the European and global markets.
"Small modular reactors represent a decarbonisation opportunity that, as a complement to renewables, will ensure the security of electricity and heat supplies for both industrial applications and potentially for district heating. As a wholly new segment of the Polish economy, nuclear energy will also spur the creation of a number of modern jobs."
In 2019, Synthos Green Energy - part of the Synthos Group - signed a cooperation agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) for the construction of the BWRX-300 reactor in Poland. The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems, based on GEH's US-licensed, 1520 MWe Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor design. Synthos in October last year began a regulatory dialogue with the Polish National Atomic Energy Agency on the possibility of building the BWRX-300 in Poland, with the support of US utility Exelon Generation, GEH and Finland's Fortum Power and Heat Oy.
Synthos announced in December 2020 the completion of a deployment feasibility study for the implementation of a fleet of GEH BWRX-300 SMRs in Poland. The study, which was prepared by Exelon, covers the analysis of key aspects of SMR technology implementation, including cost issues, personnel policy, regulatory and security issues, construction models and operational issues.
In November 2020, Synthos also signed a cooperation agreement with Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, which is developing the high-temperature gas-cooled MMR. USNC and Synthos jointly applied to the Polish Ministry of Development for financing from the IPCEI mechanism (Important Projects of Common European Interest) for projects within the scope of the value chain of hydrogen technologies and systems. The goal of the joint project is the development of an economically efficient, zero-emission, high-temperature heat and power source for the production of hydrogen on an industrial scale.