After weeks of speculation and talks, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed via Twitter that Poland has chosen the US firm, Westinghouse, to deliver the country’s nuclear energy project. Following the announcement, the US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm welcomed the decision to include the US and Westinghouse as part of Poland’s 40 billion US dollar nuclear project which will create or sustain more than 100,000 jobs for American workers.
“We’re excited to be taking these next steps towards supporting Poland’s Clean Energy future with our AP1000 reactor,” stated Westinghouse, reacting to Mr Morawiecki’s tweet. “It’s the most advanced reactor operating today.”
Earlier in September, the company and senior US diplomats presented their side’s offer, Concept and executive report on cooperation in the field of Civil Nuclear Energy, which outlined a detailed bilateral roadmap to the construction of six large-scale reactors and presented a framework for strategic cooperation between the US and Poland in the field of civil nuclear energy.
According to unnamed sources from the US government, the decision confirms that the first reactors will be built with Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors, whilst there is only an “expectation” that Poland will eventually construct the remaining three reactors using US technology, with a formal decision on the second set of three being made at a later date. Other sources have also suggested that Poland would choose the technology first, which would indicate who the partner would be and discuss the details of the contract at a later stage.
In June, the French power utility, EDF joined the US in the race to become a strategic partner in Poland’s first nuclear project, signing cooperation agreements with five Polish firms. Whilst Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) also submitted an offer for the construction of six APR-1400 reactors.
Will South Korea join the US in developing Poland’s nuclear infrastructure?
On Monday, the Polish Ministry of State Assets announced the signing of a Polish-Korean business agreement for the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Poland. The Korean KHNP and the Polish electricity producers, ZE PAK and Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) signed a letter of intent to build a nuclear power plant in Pątnów, located in central Poland. As part of this agreement, by the end of 2022, the companies will prepare a feasibility study on this potential investment.
During the business meeting between the two sides in Seoul, it was confirmed that two nuclear power plants are expected to be built in Poland within ten years.
“We need sources of cheap and stable energy in Poland,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Assets, Jacek Sasin, attending the meeting. “Nuclear energy is indispensable in Polish conditions, especially in the current geopolitical situation. The initiative of ZE PAK and PGE is extremely interesting because it implements the strategic goals of Poland and Poles – cheap energy and energy independence.”
“According to the Polish Energy Policy until 2040 adopted by the Polish government in 2021, Pątnów is one of the potential locations for a nuclear power plant in Poland,” he added. “The construction of the nuclear power plant in Pątnów may support the Polish nuclear energy program, which is crucial for us from the perspective of the country. We welcome the information that ZE PAK and PGE have started talks with KHNP, which will further strengthen relations between Poland and South Korea.”
Following the meeting of the Council of Ministers, it was confirmed that the US Westinghouse will build Poland’s first nuclear power plant – whilst the government remains “open” to cooperation with European and global industry when it comes to building a second nuclear power plant in the country. The Council of Ministers considered it necessary to “accelerate” preparations for the construction of a second nuclear power plant, without “indicating” the preferred technology at the present stage.
The Minister for Climate and Environment, Anna Moskwa, also confirmed that the construction of the first Polish nuclear power plant will start in 2026 and in 2033 the first block of the nuclear power plant will be commissioned.
Separately, the PM said that the government is also in favour of smaller nuclear energy projects such as SMR (small modular reactor) or MMR (micro modular reactor).