A science project has been launched to replace carbon blocks with nuclear reactors

The scientific project, which consists of drawing up a plan to replace the old coal-fired power plants of the Polish electricity industry with third and fourth generation nuclear reactors, was officially inaugurated on Thursday in Gliwice. It should be ready in the spring of 2025.

The DEsire project: “Plan for decarbonization of the national commercial electricity industry through modernization with the use of nuclear reactors (generation III and IV)” has been carried out since April 1 this year. Consortium of Silesian University of Technology, Ministry of Climate and Environment, Office “Energoprojekt-Katowice”, Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology and Sobieski Institute Foundation.

The Ministry of Climate and Environment will be responsible for the implementation of the “Decarbonization Plan” title. The project leader, Silesian University of Technology, will be responsible for piloting the energy transformation professional cluster, which is to be a research and consultancy base supporting national actors in decarbonization processes.

The project manager is prof. From the Silesian University of Technology dr hab. Lukasz Bartela. During the inaugural project at Thursday’s scientific conference in Gliwice, he said the genesis of the project was the work carried out from December 2019 to June 2020 on identifying different pathways for decarbonizing the national block-based electricity industry. of coal, in particular with the use of 4th generation nuclear reactors.

“Then it turned out that this kind of decarbonization path can be very promising also for Poland, although of course we need time to domesticate these generation IV reactors. One of the effects of the project was to estimate the potential reduction in capital expenditure compared to a typical greenfield investment – they can be reduced by up to 35%, if we use the very deep infrastructure of the power unit” – he underline.

This led to the launch of the Desire project, which is to be implemented in two 18-month phases – until March 31, 2025, in cooperation with several technology partners, based on letters of intent.

“The first objective of the project is to develop a plan for the decarbonization of the national electricity industry through modernization with the use of nuclear reactors of generation III and IV, which will constitute a roadmap for the organization of the processes of investment aimed at transforming centralized production systems, taking into account the criterion of sustainable development” – said Bartela.

“The second basic objective is a pilot of the National Pole of Professional Energy Transformation, which is to provide organizational support for activities aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the different groups of actors in the process of power plant transformation. domestic electricity and cogeneration plants” – he added.

He listed three tasks in the first phase of the project. Energoprojekt Katowice will be responsible for the identification and analysis of national energy and related infrastructure in terms of its adaptation in the modernization process with the use of nuclear reactors (15 sites are analyzed: 10 power plants and 5 separate coal-fired units; on this basis, a ranking of the most advantageous locations will be established, which will be taken into account (be careful during feasibility studies).

The Silesian University of Technology is to develop an integrated model for assessing the energy and economic aspects of the adaptation of generation III and IV nuclear reactors to the process of decarbonization of power units (reactors with high implementation potential will be identified here). The Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, in turn, must develop an organizational and safety model for the modernization and operation of power plants and power units with generation III and IV nuclear reactors (a catalog of design and organization solutions will be created here ).

The effects collected in the first phase of the project will be used in the second phase, with four research tasks. Energoprojekt Katowice will be responsible for developing baseline feasibility studies for three different investment sites. The Sobieski Institute must provide a social diagnosis and analytical materials to support the implementation of the modernization plan.

The Silesian University of Technology should prepare the project results for practical use within the framework of the cluster activities. The Ministry of Climate and Environment must aggregate the effects of the tasks so far, preparing a plan to modernize power plants and generators through the use of generation III, III plus and IV nuclear reactors.

For the implementation of the DEsire project, the consortium obtained funding from the strategic scientific research and development program “Social and economic development of Poland in the conditions of market globalization” GOSPOSTRATEG – in the sixth competition organized by the National Center for Research and Development. The project budget is 5.9 million PLN, with a grant of 5.35 million PLN.

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