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On September 27, a two-day GEMINI+ project launch event will kick off in Warsaw. Twenty-six institutions from the European countries, as well as from the USA, Japan and Korea, participate in the project. Partners represent the nuclear and research industry, national technical support institutions and nuclear safety authorities, non-nuclear engineering and end-user engineering companies. The project won the Euratom / Horizon 2020 Small Modular Reactor (SMR) competition, getting 14.5 out of 15 possible points.

The GEMINI + project aims at developing high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) for their industrial deployment. The meeting will be devoted to the preparation of the work plan, including in the area of ​​safety design and analysis and licensing of the new technology. "Our goal is to develop a model of a reactor that can be manufactured and partially assembled in a factory, on an almost serial basis, and then transported to the recipient site and placed there. It is cheaper than building all on the reactor site" emphasizes Professor Grzegorz Wrochna of the National Centre for Nuclear Research, who is the coordinator of the project. "In the first step we will have to deal with formal issues. Polish law, for example, considers only a nuclear facility as a power plant, and does not consider the possibility of producing heat. This needs to be changed in order for the deployment of high temperature reactors to be possible."

The project aims at establishing a plan for the implementation of commercial HTGR for the industry in the world, and in the first place in Poland. "HTGR technology may be of particular interest to the Polish industry in the long run, as it provides energy exempt from sensitivity to fossil fuel prices, from possible risks on fuel supply and from CO2 emissions," says Dominique Hittner, Technical Coordinator project.

The ability to obtain energy in HTGR technology has been positively verified, but technology has not yet been applied at the industrial level. "This gives us great opportunities for business development, and the Polish industry can be interested in such a reactor," explains Prof. Wrochna. "The advantage of HTGR technology is that it is safe by gradual and spontaneous cooling of fuel even in the event of the most severe failures." HTGR have already worked in Europe, the USA, China and Japan. However they were only prototypes, and wider implementation is still to come. Moreover application to cogeneration has not been experienced yet. From the past experience, valuable lessons have been learned and further constructions have been made. The test reactor was recently operated in Japan and has successfully passed all snearlyafety tests. Another, similarly validated HTGR, has been operating in China for 20 years. There is also presently the construction of two large (200MW) HTGR rectors for electricity generation. "It is possible that the first HTGR producing heat for the industry will be launched in Poland," argues prof. Wrochna. "It could happen sometime around 2031."

The benefits of the development of high-temperature reactors have also been recognized by the Polish government, putting the implementation of this among the priorities of the Strategy for Responsible Development presented by the Ministry of Development at the beginning of 2017. Increasing the industry's resilience to new environmental regulations, it is expected that the development of new technology will be an impulse for the Polish economy, e.g. by increasing Poland's potential in the area of technological exports.

GEMINI+ is a special science and infrastructure project, which shows that there is a potential for cooperation between science and business within an international consortium that is geared towards first implementation in Europe. The partners, however, are also considering applying this new technology on the American continent and for preparing such steps, together with American, Japanese and Korean partners, they have formed together the PRIME initiative.