Fact Check: Poland Has NOT Banned Testing Of Small Modular Reactors On Its Territory

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: Poland Has NOT Banned Testing Of Small Modular Reactors On Its Territory Six New Sites

Has Poland banned the testing and constructing of small nuclear reactors on its territory, making Romania the only country where they are tested? No, that's not true: The Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment has issued "decisions of principle" for constructing power plants based on GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's BWRX-300 nuclear reactors at six sites.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by user @aurelianr0 on December 22, 2023. The caption (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) said:

Poland is banning modular reactors from its territory, with experiments only to be done in Romania.

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-12-28 at 10.55.50.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Dec 28 08:35:15 2023 UTC)

The claim comes from an article on the website Național, a newspaper known for its conspiratorial tendencies, that says: "Romania remains the only country where the authorities have decided to use a nuclear technology that has not worked anywhere in the world." In fact, there are worldwide plans to introduce small modular reactors (SMR).

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, more than 80 commercial SMRs are currently being developed worldwide. SMRs are under construction or in the licensing phase in Argentina, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. It is estimated that the first SMR power plant in the U.S. will be completed around 2030. The Russian Akademik Lomonosov nuclear power plant even went into operation in May 2020 and produces energy from two 35 megawatt SMRs.

A total of 24 BWRX-300 reactors are planned at the SMR sites that the Polish government wants to build. Orlen Synthos Green Energy (OSGE), a joint venture between Orlen, Poland's largest refinery company, and the chemical company Synthos, plans to build the country's first small reactors by 2030. OSGE CEO Rafal Kasprow made these statements at the Net Zero Nuclear Summit on December 7, 2023, during the COP28 summit in Dubai, according to a Reuters report.

Poland's climate ministry announced that the reactors are to be built in Wloclawek, Stawy Monowskie, Stalowa Wola, Ostroleka, Nowa Huta and Dabrowa Gornicza. According to a World Nuclear News report on December 8, 2023, OSGE submitted applications for decisions in principle for the construction of plants at six locations to the Ministry of Climate and Environment in April 2023.

Romania is already experimenting with SMRs. In September 2023, the National Commission for the Control of Nuclear Activities (CNCAN) approved the licensing basis document (LBD) for the NuScale nuclear power plant, which is equipped with SMRs with a total gross installed capacity of 462 megawatts. The future power plant will be located in Doicești, Dâmbovița County, on the site of a former coal-fired power plant. Romania plans to build the NuScale Power SMR plant by 2027-28. Romania would also like to expand its role as a regional center for SMR technology among the partner countries of the Three Seas Initiative.

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