Westinghouse, Bechtel and PEJ push ahead on Poland AP1000

26 May 2023

An agreement setting a plan for the delivery of Poland's first nuclear power plant has been signed by Westinghouse Electric Company, Bechtel and Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ).

Seated (from left): Patrick Fragman, Łukasz Młynarkiewicz, Craig Albert; standing (from left): Mark Brzezinski, Anna Moskwa, Poland Minister of Climate and Environment and Mateusz Berger, Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure (Image: Westinghouse)

The Polish government selected Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor for its first nuclear power plant in November. Licensing and engineering work is already under way on the project. The firms say the new agreement means design activity can start later this year and the construction contract in 2025.

Poland's Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa said the agreement was "the result of intensive negotiations" and meant "we are even closer to the construction of a nuclear power plant in 2026 and the production of nuclear energy in 2033" and "we are are glad that we are joined by partners open to Polish contribution" in the project.

According to PEJ the agreement "defines the scope of responsibilities" and "specifies that the two US companies will work together in areas such as designing a nuclear facility, meeting the planned work schedule, controlling the project and ensuring its quality. The leader of the consortium at the design stage of the power plant will be Westinghouse, and during construction, Bechtel".

Łukasz Młynarkiewicz, acting president of PEJ, said: "An American consortium of highly experienced companies in the nuclear industry is being formed today in front of us, with the goal of designing and building the first nuclear power plant in Poland. As an investor, we will actively cooperate with this consortium to consistently achieve successive milestones in the project until the power plant in Pomerania is commissioned."

Patrick Fragman, Westinghouse CEO, said: "The Westinghouse-Bechtel team is a proven one, as demonstrated by successfully powering up the first AP1000 reactor in the US and nearing completion of the second, as well as four AP1000 units already in successful commercial operation globally. We will use this experience to help Poland efficiently create a new, cleaner, more secure energy mix."

Craig Albert, president and COO at Bechtel, stressed its seven decades of experience in the nuclear sector and said they were honoured to support Poland's nuclear ambitions: "Together with Westinghouse, we look forward to working with PEJ, and Polish construction companies and suppliers to deliver the clean, reliable energy Poland needs."

US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski called the agreement "a demonstration of the bond that brings these three great US and Polish companies together as one team committed to one goal. That goal is to use the world’s best technology to help Poland build a nuclear power plant which will provide, safe, affordable, and clean power for generations to come".

Poland currently has large-scale plans to develop nuclear energy capacity. In September 2021, it was announced that six large pressurised water reactors with a combined installed capacity of 6-9 GWe could be built by 2040 as part of the country's plan to reduce its reliance on coal. According to the adopted schedule, the construction of the first nuclear power plant will start in 2026, with the first reactor - with a capacity of 1.0-1.6 GWe - being commissioned in 2033. Subsequent units will be implemented every 2-3 years. The coastal towns of Lubiatowo and Kopalino in Poland's Choczewo municipality in the province of Pomerania have been named as the preferred location for the country's first large nuclear power plant.

In November 2022, the Polish government selected Westinghouse for that first nuclear power plant. In February, PEJ and Westinghouse signed a Bridge Contract, which covers works in ten main areas, including: development of a detailed delivery model; preparation of a security assessment and a quality programme; and also identification of potential suppliers with a focus on Polish companies. Westinghouse will prepare a list of requirements necessary for the execution of the investment, including adjusting the AP1000 technology to meet all the local regulations. The contract also assumes the preparation of the principles of external financing for the project.

In other plans for Poland, ZE PAK, Polska Grupa Energetyczna and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on a nuclear power plant project in Patnow, in central Poland, assessing the viability of building South Korean APR1400 reactors on the site. Orlen Synthos Green Energy has also announced that after looking at "tens" of potential sites in Poland for the construction of small modular reactors, GE Hitachi's BWRX-300s, it has shortlisted seven optimum locations for further geological surveys.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News