Poland’s state-owned utility PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. (PGE) is leading Poland’s efforts to develop the country’s first two nuclear generating stations and is currently evaluating several reactor technologies for these plants, including two GEH reactor designs: the 1,350-megawatt (MWe) ABWR and the 1,520-MWe ESBWR. (It has also signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Westinghouse and EDF.

As a result of the potential for an order, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has signed MOUs with Poland’s Stocznia Gdansk, a major shipyard, and Rafako S.A., Europe’s leading boiler equipment manufacturer, to pursue opportunities to build nuclear components for GEH. Stocznia Gdansk would supply large steel components.

GEH previously signed an agreement with global engineering services firm SNC-Lavalin Polska to collaborate on potential projects in Poland.

“Over the last two years, Stocznia Gdansk has invested heavily in its infrastructure in order to create a modern and highly advanced production facility. This was done for large projects like what may be needed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in future new nuclear plant orders,” said Andrzej Stoklosa, president of Stocznia Gdansk S.A.

“RAFAKO considers nuclear energy a substantial part of future power generation in Poland,” said Krzysztof Burek, vice president of the board, RAFAKO S.A. “We have a strong tradition in building components for nuclear projects in other countries and look forward to the opportunity to apply our expertise in project execution, production capabilities, quality assurance and engineering capacity to GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy for potential nuclear projects in Poland.”

GEH further committed to a strong Polish workforce with today’s agreements with the universities to train Polish students on nuclear technology and offer internships for Polish students this summer in the United States. GE currently has more than 10,000 employees in Poland.

Along with these agreements, GEH also donated two GE GateCycle software licenses to Gdansk University of Technology to help train a new generation of highly skilled nuclear engineers to operate the new facilities. In 2010, GEH donated five licenses to the Warsaw University of Technology. GE’s customized GateCycle heat balance software is used to model nuclear steam cycles and is a valuable tool in teaching engineering students advanced methods of plant modeling and troubleshooting to optimize plant performance.

Today, about 94 percent of Poland’s electricity comes from domestic coal-fired power plants. Poland plans to build its new reactors to help reduce the country’s dependence on coal-based technologies and overall national emissions levels as Poland and other European Union members seek to reduce their emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Nuclear energy is an attractive option because it generates electricity with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

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