GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and state-owned Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA (PGE), Poland’s largest power company, have signed a new agreement to collaborate on building commercial nuclear power plants in the country.
Poland plans to build two nuclear power plants to help diversify its energy production, which relies heavily on coal-based technologies, with over 90% of current electricity production from coal-fired plants.
“As we prepare to build Poland's first commercial nuclear power plants, we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is offering us their expertise,” said Tomasz Zadroga, Management Board president at PGE. “We are committed to carefully choosing a reactor technology that meets our economic and technical priorities.”
Under the new agreement, GEH will help PGE study the feasibility of building up to four reactors based on one of GEH’s reactor designs: the 1350MWe ABWR or the 1520MWe ESBWR.
The polish government approved a new energy strategy in January 2009, which aims for one or two nuclear power plants to be built by PGE, the first by 2020. A four-stage plan envisaged legislation by 2010, site, technology and construction arrangements 2011-13, technical plans and site works 2014-15, and construction 2016-20.
This is not the first time Poland has decided to embark on a civil nuclear porgramme. In the 1980s, Poland had four Russian VVER-440 units under construction at Zarnowiec in the north of the country. The project was cancelled in 1990 and the components were sold, but the site remains a leading contender for new build.
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