Poland’s KGHM turns to nuclear as alternative power source

KGHM Polska Miedz SA updates

Discovering cheaper sources of power is a “matter of nationwide curiosity” for Polish enterprise, the chief govt of KGHM has warned, because the copper producer set out plans to construct 4 small modular reactors.

Marcin Chludzinski mentioned the nuclear reactors, to be constructed by the US group NuScale with the primary due on line in 2029, would make KGHM, which is Poland’s second-biggest client of electrical energy, self-sufficient in power manufacturing and insulate it from risky power costs.

“To be globally aggressive, energy-intensive companies like ours . . . must have entry to the most cost effective electrical energy doable, and that’s our aim,” he mentioned in an interview with Monetary Occasions.

“It’s not solely a problem for us . . . it’s a problem for all companies in Poland, as a result of if power continues to turn out to be dearer at this charge, then our capability to take a position will fall.”

Poland stays one of the crucial coal-dependent economies within the EU, and final 12 months generated virtually 70 per cent of its power from the fossil gasoline.

However because the EU has ratcheted up its local weather targets, and the price of CO2 emissions has soared, corporations are more and more searching for entry to cheaper and steady electrical energy provides, and a quantity have expressed curiosity in small modular reactors (SMRs).

Final month, two of Poland’s richest males, Michal Solowow, who controls the chemical compounds group Synthos, and Zygmunt Solorz, who owns a majority stake within the media group Polsat and the power group ZE PAK, introduced a venture to construct their very own SMRs by the tip of this decade.

Synthos has additionally signed agreements to co-operate on the know-how with PKN Orlen, Poland’s state-owned oil refiner, and with Ciech, the chemical compounds group managed by billionaire Sebastian Kulczyk.

Chludzinski mentioned that Poland was being penalised “too closely” for the truth that its power was nonetheless extremely reliant on coal. However he mentioned that know-how equivalent to SMRs might assist speed up the nation’s power transition.

“Poles are very versatile. If it seems that these are the circumstances we’ve to compete in, they usually can’t be modified, then we’re in a position to adapt fairly rapidly. And I believe that the power transformation, which is supposed to happen over time, might occur extra rapidly,” he mentioned.

The settlement between KGHM and NuScale, signed in Warsaw final week, envisages that 4 SMRs, which a capability of 77MW every will likely be constructed by the tip of 2030. However there may be additionally scope for the variety of models to be elevated to 12, which might generate round 1GW of electrical energy.

Chludzinski mentioned that the venture — the price of which has not been finalised — might have the aspect impact of creating KGHM a web power producer. However he mentioned that this was not the purpose of the train.

“We’re not going to go from being a copper producer to being an power firm. We’re centered above all on copper,” he mentioned. “However we’ve to be self-sufficient in power phrases, and if we’ve extra power than we’d like ourselves, then we are going to promote it.”

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