The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) on 30 June announced grant funding to Poland’s Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe (PEJ – Polish Nuclear Power Plants Ltd) for a front-end engineering and design study that will help develop Poland’s first two nuclear power plants, facilitate a transition away from coal-fired power, and strengthen efforts to ensure its long-term energy security.
Under the grant, Westinghouse Electric Company and Bechtel Power Corporation will carry out the study. The US Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, as well as the Department of Energy (DOE) contributed funding toward USTDA’s grant award. Westinghouse and Bechtel will contribute additional resources for the study’s completion.
“USTDA’s support for this project reflects a confluence of unique and remarkable circumstances where US industry and government have come together at a critical juncture in the development of Poland’s nuclear energy programme,” said Enoh T Ebong, USTDA’s Acting Director. “With this project, we have an opportunity to pave the way for American technology to meet Poland’s civil nuclear energy needs.”
The study will support the Polish government’s decision-making process for the deployment of two nuclear plants, each consisting of three reactors. Collectively, the six reactors will provide Poland more than 6GWe by 2043. The study will provide PEJ, Poland’s state-owned company charged with investing in the development, construction and operation of Poland’s future nuclear power plants, with layout plans for the location of the first NPP; a strategic licensing plan; a project schedule; and a budgetary cost estimate for delivery, construction and start-up of the first power plant.
USTDA’s grant to PEJ was enabled by the entry into force in of an intergovernmental agreement between the USA and Poland on civil nuclear power cooperation.
Poland’s State Secretary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure Piotr Naimski noted: “We are glad of the new US administration’s support of Poland’s civil nuclear power programme, which provides the broader framework for this study and for USTDA’s engagement. We see this also in broader terms, as a commitment to Poland’s profound energy transition. The front-end engineering and design study, on which US companies will now be able to begin their work, will help Poland’s government take the final decision on strategic partnership in constructing Poland’s nuclear power plants for a clean energy system.”
Westinghouse said that the front-end study will be based on its AP1000 technology and will be reviewed after one year by the Polish government to help in its selection of the “best partner” for its nuclear power programme.PEJ CEO Robert Ostrowski, noted: “We welcome the interest of these leading American and global nuclear energy companies in undertaking this important study as well as commend the strong US commitment to funding this effort. We truly look forward to the work ahead and to the new momentum in advancing Poland’s civil nuclear programme.”
“This cooperation not only demonstrates U.S. and Poland’s deep strategic ties, it comes at a critical time in our efforts to address climate change,” said Ann Ganzer, US Department of State Senior Bureau Official for International Security and Nonproliferation. “Through deployment of clean, baseload nuclear energy, Poland will significantly contribute to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions.”
Poland aims to build 6000-9000MWe of installed nuclear capacity based on large-scale, pressurised water nuclear reactors of Generation III and III+ designs. Commercial operation of a first nuclear reactor unit in a proposed set of six is planned for 2033. Warsaw’s 2040 energy plans foresee the reduction of coal-fired power generation to about 50% from about 80% today, and replacing the phased-out capacity with zero-emission sources such as nuclear and renewables.
According to Tomasz Nowacki, director of the nuclear energy department at Warsaw’s climate ministry, Poland’s goal is to have one strategic partner for its ambitious nuclear programme “for decades”, not only for construction but for operation and decommissioning. However, the Polish government has said no decision has been made on the technology to be used for the new-build project and the government is ready to review other offers which come their way.
Westinghouse leaders sign USTDA FEED grant in Poland (photo: Westinghouse)