Poland hints at choice for first nuclear build; Westinghouse sues KHNP

October 25, 2022, 2:58PMNuclear News

Poland’s deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin and U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm meet in Washington on October 23. (Photo: gov.pl)

Following a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sunday with secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm, Polish deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin told reporters that his nation is close to choosing the reactor supplier for its initial nuclear plant project, adding, according to Bloomberg, “There is a big chance that we will finally pick Westinghouse.”

And in a news release on the meeting from the Polish government, Sasin is quoted as saying, “The massive energy crisis that is currently affecting us means that we must quickly make decisions on building the country’s energy security based on new, clean, cheap, and reliable sources, and such a source is nuclear energy. We want the decisive decisions to be made as soon as possible. That is why we asked [Granholm] for a meeting, during which we will clarify all the issues that remain to be clarified.”

Accompanying Sasin at the meeting with Granholm was Poland’s climate and environment minister, Anna Moskva, who also seemed to suggest an inside track for Westinghouse. “Today, we discussed the decisive elements of the offer made by the USA,” Moskva stated in the release. “There are still a few issues on which we expect clarification from the American side. I think that in the coming days we will be able to announce the government’s decision on this matter.”

Westinghouse is competing for the construction job with Électricité de France and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. EDF submitted its offer to build four to six EPRs in Poland in October 2021, while KHNP offered to construct six APR1400 units in April of this year.

New suit: On Saturday, S&P Global’s Bill Freebairn tweeted the news that Westinghouse is suing KHNP to prevent the South Korean firm from sharing technical information on the APR1400 reactor design with Poland. In a Sunday news piece on the subject, Freebairn wrote, “In a legal filing late October 21, Westinghouse said KHNP’s reactor design includes intellectual property licensed by Westinghouse and requires permission from the U.S. company before being transferred to Poland and other countries considering deploying the APR1400 reactor.”

The previous day, the Korea Economic Daily reported that KHNP was expected to sign a letter of intent with Poland’s Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) and ZE PAK “to build a nuclear power plant in Poland, separate from a three-way auction underway in the European country.”

Background: In February 2021, Poland’s Ministry of Climate and Environment announced the official adoption of the Energy Policy of Poland until 2040 (PEP2040), originally published in draft form in November 2018 and revised the following year.

In its announcement, the ministry described PEP2040 as “a clear vision of Poland’s energy transformation strategy” and “a compass for entrepreneurs, local governments, and citizens in the transformation of the Polish economy toward low emission.” By 2040, the document states, more than half of Poland’s installed capacity will be zero-emission sources, adding that offshore wind energy and nuclear energy “will play a special role” in reaching that goal.

PEP2040 contains eight specific objectives, one of which is the implementation of nuclear power. According to the document, Poland will launch its first nuclear power reactor in 2033, with a capacity of 1.0 to 1.6 GW. Additional units are to be “implemented” every two to three years after that. The nuclear program envisions the construction of six units by 2043.

Late last December, Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ) announced that a location in northern Poland near the Baltic coast, Lubiatowo-Kopalino, had been selected as the preferred site for the nation’s first nuclear power plant, winning out over nearby Żarnowiec. The site is approximately 40 miles northwest of Gdańsk, the capital of Poland’s Pomeranian province. (PEJ—also known as Polish Nuclear Power Plants Ltd.—is a state-owned company set up to lead the investment process, conduct site research, and obtain all necessary approvals for the construction of the plant.)

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