“We are trying to become self sufficient in terms of supply of electric energy, because it is the most costly thing in our operations,” Paweł Lewandowski, strategic director of the KGHM, Poland’s copper and silver giant, told “Business Arena”, commenting on the company’s plans to build a small nuclear reactor to reduce its carbon dioxide emission and also cut significant costs. He also called current CO2 emission prices “madness.”
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KGHM has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the US company NuScale that owns new technology in the nuclear reactors field.
“It is [to be] a small reactor, containing three modules and having only 77 MW of power,” Mr Lewandowski said, commenting on the planned reactor, comparing its estimated size to one of a typical gas power plant.
“However, it works on uranium fuel, therefore does not emit any CO2,” he said, pointing out that the new solution will be also cost-effective in the long term. He also emphasised that the technology owned by NuScale is the most advanced at the moment.
“I think we will implement it [the new technology] in less than eight years,” he declared.
When asked about the potential financing of the project, Mr Lewandowski expressed his hope for EU funds to play a big role, despite the Union’s growing aversion towards nuclear energy.
“I think in a year or two, they [European leaders] will realise that the only option for countries such as Poland and for businesses such as KGHM is a green transition, but supported by nuclear plants,” he pointed out, stressing that “there is no other option right now.”
Regarding the question as to where the company plans to store the spent nuclear power rods, Mr Lewandowski answered that they would probably be sent back to the US as the law requires the uranium to be brought back to a country that “knows how to utilise it.”
“We should not store it because there is a threat of building a nuclear weapon from the enriched uranium,” he pointed out.
Paweł Lewandowski also assured that the KGHM’s shareholders are not concerned about the company’s nuclear plans and are waiting for further details.