PEJ looks to build nuclear workforce in Poland

August 8, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Łukasz Młynarkiewicz (left), acting president of PEJ, and Krzysztof Zaremba, rector of the Warsaw University of Technology, signed an agreement on August 7 regarding the training of personnel for Poland’s nuclear energy program. (Photo: Warsaw University of Technology)

Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ), the state-owned firm set up to lead Poland’s efforts to establish a civil nuclear power program, signed an agreement yesterday with the Warsaw University of Technology to cooperate on the training of personnel for the nuclear sector.

The agreement provides for “substantive and research cooperation” as well as “cooperation in the development and implementation of scholarship programs [and] co-organization of competitions for scientific works or design competitions,” PEJ said in a news release. PEJ and the university will also work together on a curriculum to enable graduates to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to find employment in the nuclear energy field, the company added.

According to Poland’s Ministry of Climate and Environment, there are already some 80 companies operating in the Central European nation that provide services to nuclear technology vendors worldwide, with another 300 ready to join the nuclear supply chain.

The official words: “The dynamic development of the nuclear sector and the acquisition of new competencies by Polish companies in connection with the acceleration of work on the implementation of the Polish nuclear energy program will require properly educated human resources,” said Łukasz Młynarkiewicz, acting president of PEJ. “I believe that cooperation with one of the best technical universities in Poland will help in achieving this goal.”

Krzysztof Zaremba, rector of the Warsaw University of Technology, stated, “The implementation of the nuclear power plant construction project and the related development of the entire industry significantly increase the demand for both educated engineering staff and experts in this field. I am sure that the cooperation between the Warsaw University of Technology and [PEJ] will allow us to provide Poland with top-class specialists who will not only be able to build safe and modern nuclear power plants, but will also find employment in them as people supervising the operation of power plants, or maintaining reactors and the entire infrastructure in full efficiency.”

In case you missed it: After solidifying plans in February of this year for deploying Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors in Poland, PEJ on April 13 submitted an application to the Ministry of Climate and Environment for a “decision-in-principle” regarding the nation’s initial nuclear project—construction of an AP1000 plant at a site some 40 miles northwest of Gdansk, the capital of Poland’s Pomeranian province. On July 12, the ministry gave its approval.

“The basic decision is the first key administrative permit obtained in the nuclear project of [PEJ],” said Młynarkiewicz. “This shows that the company is step by step achieving its goals for this year, which brings us closer to the start of the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the country.”

Background: In February 2021, the 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, with a capacity of 1.0–1.6 GW, in 2033. Additional units are to follow every two to three years after that. The nuclear program envisions the construction of six units by 2043.

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