Westinghouse and Poland's PEJ sign agreement on AP1000 'next steps'

16 December 2022

Poland’s Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe has signed a cooperation agreement with Westinghouse "defining the main principles and path forward for the first Polish nuclear reactors".

A further agreement is expected to be signed by mid-2023 on the design of the plant (Image: Westinghouse)

In November, the Polish government selected Westinghouse for the country’s first nuclear power plant, as it sets out on an ambitious plan to embrace nuclear energy in the country.

The agreement signed on Thursday sets out next steps, including site-layout, licensing and permitting support, engineering services contracts and procurement and construction planning services.

"Less than a year ago we indicated the preferred location of the first nuclear power plant, and today, after months of hard work, we can say that we have achieved another of the goals we set for 2022. The signed contract allows us to move on to more detailed work and commercial arrangements with the American side. It is also the first step towards starting designing the construction of a nuclear power plant in Pomerania," said Tomasz Stępień, president of Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe.

Mark Brzezinski, US Ambassador to Poland, said: "Today's agreement is another big step towards Poland's goal of safe and reliable nuclear energy from a trusted partner. This key pillar of our bilateral relations will ensure Poland's energy security while reducing emissions."

David Durham, Energy Systems President for Westinghouse, said: "Westinghouse is proud to continue this journey with our Polish partners to deliver clean, safe and secure nuclear power for the people of Poland. This framework agreement sets us up for success as we look ahead to commercial operation of Poland’s first AP1000 reactors."

In September last year, 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 Poland's plan to reduce its reliance on coal. According to the adopted schedule, the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Poland will start in 2026, with the first reactor, with a capacity of 1-1.6 GWe, being commissioned in 2033. Subsequent units will be implemented every 2-3 years.

Westinghouse faced competition to be selected for Poland's nuclear programme from Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and France's EDF. Its AP1000 is a Generation III+ reactor with fully passive safety systems. Two units are being built at Vogtle in the USA, four are operating in China and four are under construction with two more ordered. There are also plans for nine units in Ukraine and, Westinghouse said, it "is under consideration at multiple other sites in Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and in the USA".

In a separate development last month, South Korea's energy ministry said Poland's ZE PAK, PGE (Polska Grupa Energetyczna) and KHNP had signed a letter of intent to cooperate on a nuclear power plant project in Patnow, Poland, assessing the viability of building South Korean APR1400 reactors on the site.

Meanwhile, German states are opposing the Polish nuclear power plans, with the eastern state of Brandenburg, opposing it with its submission to the cross-border environmental impact assessment, saying "plans for the further use of nuclear energy should be abandoned in the interest of the population and the environment of all Baltic Sea countries".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News