Impressions from the IAEA General Conference

November 16, 2022, 9:30AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

There are worse places to be than Vienna, Austria, in the early fall. The place has an old-world vibe for sure. The U-Bahn doesn’t have turnstiles; it runs on the honor system. People take care to dress up before they amble down the Kärntner Strasse, the city’s main shopping district.

Every September, a little further north, 3,000 delegates from around the world, along with 200 representatives from nongovernmental organizations, descend on the Vienna International Center of the United Nations—the VIC, for short—for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference. Attendees ply its curving hallways and attend side events, engage in meetings on the margins, and tour the national booth displays.

Inside the large, purpose-built plenary hall, a seemingly endless procession of national speakers, each allotted seven minutes (with flashing red digits to let all know who’s run over time), tout their nation’s achievements in nuclear technology and express its views on nuclear matters of any sort. As an accredited NGO, ANS has a desk in the plenary complete with microphone and wireless translation headset. An IAEA plenary is a highly scripted affair—one that looks boring at first glance, but once you put the headphones on and get acclimated to the vagaries of real-time translation, a coherent and interesting picture starts to emerge.

Westinghouse to build Poland’s first nuclear reactors; KHNP may get separate deal

October 31, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

Morawiecki

Poland has chosen Westinghouse Electric Company to supply the reactors for its initial nuclear power plant, as the Central European nation seeks to lessen its dependence on domestic coal and Russian imports for its energy supply. On Friday, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the decision on Twitter, confirming last week’s reports that Westinghouse’s AP1000 technology was the government’s likely choice.

“A strong [Polish-American] alliance guarantees the success of our joint initiatives,” Morawiecki tweeted. “After talks with [vice president Kamala Harris and energy secretary Jennifer Granholm], we confirm our nuclear energy project will use the reliable, safe technology of [Westinghouse].”

Competing with the American firm for the job were Électricité de France and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. In October 2021, EDF submitted an offer to build four to six EPRs in Poland, while KHNP offered in April of this year to construct six APR1400 units.

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.”

Westinghouse partners with nearly two dozen firms in Poland

September 27, 2022, 9:39AMNuclear News
Photo: Westinghouse

Westinghouse Electric Company continues its aggressive campaign to become the large reactor supplier for Poland’s planned nuclear power facilities, recently signing memoranda of understanding with 22 firms in the Central European nation.

The American company, with its AP1000 design, is one of three suppliers vying to provide the units for the first Polish nuclear plant project, the other contenders being Électricité de France and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.

The MOUs were signed last week in the presence of U.S. ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski.

NuScale makes further headway with SMR plans for Poland

September 16, 2022, 6:55AMNuclear News
From left: NuScale president and CEO John Hopkins, Poland prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, KGHM CEO Marcin Chludziński, and Ludwik Pieńkowski from AGH University of Science and Technology view a model of NuScale’s SMR technology. (Photo: Business Wire)

Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power and KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. have signed the first task order and a statement of commencement to begin work under an agreement signed in February to initiate deployment in Poland of NuScale’s small modular reactor technology, the American firm announced this week. The task order was inked September 7 at the 31st Economic Forum, held September 6–8 in Karpacz, Poland.

Last Energy signs up for SMR project in Polish industrial zone

August 2, 2022, 2:56PMNuclear News
Signing the letter of agreement, from the left, are Damian Jamroz, Last Energy Polska general manager; Ryszard Wawryniewicz, LSSE vice president; Piotr Danielski, DB Energy vice president; and Dominik Brach, DB Energy CEO. (Photo: LSSE)

Last Energy, a Washington, D.C.–based small modular reactor startup, has signed a letter of intent with Poland’s Legnica Special Economic Zone (LSSE) and DB Energy for a power plant featuring 10 small modular reactors with 200 MWe of capacity to fuel the region’s industrial activities. (Established in 1997, the LSSE covers 18 subzones located in the central part of southwestern Poland’s Dolnośląskie Province and is home to more than 75 companies providing some 16,000 jobs.)

EDF makes latest move to build EPRs in Poland

June 28, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Électricité de France has signed cooperation agreements with five Polish companies as it continues its efforts to be named the large-reactor supplier for Poland’s incipient nuclear power program.

Polish firms Polimex Mostostal, Sefako, Tele-Fonika Kable, Uniserv, and ZRE Katowice inked the pacts at the fifth Polish-French Nuclear Industry Day in Ołtarzew, Poland. According to EDF, the event was held to foster collaboration between Polish and French companies in support of the utility giant’s offer to deliver four to six EPRs for the Polish program.

Bechtel, Toshiba partner on Polish nuclear project

June 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Bechtel’s Ahmet Tokpinar (right) at the MOU signing ceremony with Toshiba executives Yuki Arima (left) and Kentaro Takagi. (Photo: Bechtel)

Engineering, construction, and project management firm Bechtel Corporation last week announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Toshiba America Energy Systems and Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions to pursue a civil nuclear power plant project in Poland.

South Korea makes offer on Poland’s nuclear project

May 25, 2022, 9:22AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Seung Chul Lee, deputy chief executive officer of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, has told the Polish Press Agency that KHNP is willing to cofinance the construction of six nuclear power units in Poland. KHNP formally offered to construct the APR1400 reactors, with a total capacity of 8.4 GW, in April. The Polish government plans to have the country’s first nuclear reactor begin operating in 2033 and for subsequent reactors to be completed every two to three years thereafter.

Bechtel teams up with Polish companies for new nuclear build

April 29, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Mark Brzezinski, U.S. ambassador to Poland, and John Howanitz, president of Bechtel’s nuclear, security, and environmental global business unit, address representatives of 12 Polish companies that signed memorandums of understanding with Bechtel for the potential development of Poland’s civil nuclear program. (Photo: Bechtel)

Bechtel has signed memorandums of understanding with a dozen Polish companies for the potential development of two nuclear power plants as Poland seeks to lessen its dependence on domestic coal and Russian imports for its energy supply.

The MOUs were signed on April 25 during a ceremony at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Warsaw. Offering services ranging from earthwork and infrastructure construction to concrete, tunneling, electrical installations, and heavy cranes, the 12 Polish firms are BAKS, Budimex, Doraco, Energoprojekt-Katowice, Hitachi Energy Poland, ILF, KB Pomorze, Mostostal Warzsawa, Polimex Mostostal, Protea Group, Vistal Gdynia, and Zarmen.

Environmental report submitted for Poland’s first nuclear plant

April 4, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe (PEJ)—the state-owned company set up to lead Poland’s effort to build nuclear power plants—has submitted an environmental impact report to the country’s General Directorate for Environmental Protection regarding the construction and operation of the first such facility, which is to have a total capacity of up to 3,750 MWe.

Europe’s confused climate strategy

March 18, 2022, 3:55PMNuclear NewsMatthew L. Wald

Europeans are taking resolute steps to reduce their output of climate-changing gases, but some countries are moving in the wrong direction.

Many countries are adding solar and wind, which are low-carbon energy sources. Some have moved to biomass, the value of which as a climate cure is not clear. A few are adding reactors, while others are defining nuclear as dirty energy and natural gas as “clean” and are changing their generation mix accordingly.

Where are strong nuclear export markets likely to emerge?

March 7, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear NewsGuest Contributor

Three factors will drive nuclear exports: energy security, decarbonization, and geopolitics. Recent power prices in Europe, coupled with the situation in Ukraine, demonstrate the interplay of all three factors. Nuclear exports have to be viewed in the context of the current geopolitical climate, particularly relative to Russian and Chinese competitive offerings. Finally, the critical importance of nuclear energy in meeting global decarbonization efforts can be a driving force for exports, further enhanced by the inclusion of nuclear energy in clean/green taxonomies and the accompanying support from the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investor community.

Three U.S. firms partner to support Polish energy transition

February 25, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Bechtel and Westinghouse Electric Company on February 23 announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with GE Steam Power to explore opportunities in their joint pursuit of civil nuclear power projects in Poland.

The preferred site for Poland’s initial foray into nuclear power, chosen last December, is Lubiatowo-Kopalino, near the Baltic coast. Bechtel and Westinghouse are preparing a front-end engineering design for the site, supported by a grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency.

Looking back at 2021—Nuclear News October through December

January 7, 2022, 2:59PMNuclear News

This is the fifth of five articles posted today to look back at the top news stories of 2021 for the nuclear community. The full article, "Looking back at 2021,"was published in the January 2022 issue of Nuclear News.

Quite a year was 2021. In the following stories, we have compiled what we feel are the past year’s top news stories from the October-December time frame—please enjoy this recap from a busy year in the nuclear community.

Preferred site picked for Poland’s first nuclear plant

January 6, 2022, 12:07PMNuclear News

A location in northern Poland near the Baltic coast, Lubiatowo-Kopalino, has been selected as the preferred site for the nation’s first nuclear power plant, winning out over nearby Żarnowiec, Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe (PEJ) announced recently. The site is approximately 40 miles northwest of Gdansk, the capital of Poland’s Pomeranian province.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

December 21, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

ADVANCED REACTORS MARKETPLACE

GEH’s BWRX-300 SMR technology chosen for Darlington clean energy project

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has been selected by Ontario Power Generation as technology partner for the Darlington site's new nuclear plant project. GEH will work with OPG to deploy a BWRX-300 small modular reactor as early as 2028 at the Darlington site in Canada.

■ NuScale Power and Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the deployment of NuScale VOYGR power plants in Kazakhstan. KNPP specializes in the development of nuclear power plant construction in Kazakhstan. The agreement calls for a sharing of nuclear and technical expertise between NuScale and KNPP. Under the MOU, NuScale will support KNPP’s evaluation of NuScale’s SMR technology, including nuclear power plant engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and project-specific studies and design work.

PKN ORLEN and Synthos Green Energy have signed an agreement to set up a joint venture, ORLEN Synthos Green Energy, with a goal to prepare and commercialize small nuclear reactor technology, particularly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300 reactors, in Poland. Related, BWXT Canada Ltd. signed a letter of intent with Synthos and GEH for the manufacture of key SMR components for Poland.

France submits EPR offer to Poland

October 15, 2021, 12:06PMNuclear News

A cutaway view of an EPR. (Image: EDF)

French utility giant Électricité de France has thrown its chapeau into the ring to be the large-reactor supplier for Poland’s embryonic nuclear power program, joining U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company, which has made concerted efforts this year to convince Poland to choose its AP1000 technology.

On Tuesday, EDF submitted a nonbinding preliminary offer to the Polish government for the construction of four to six EPR reactors, representing a total installed capacity of 6.6 to 9.9 GWe across two to three sites.

The pitch: The offer “covers all key parameters of the program, such as plant configuration, industrial scheme, plans for the development of the local supply chain, cost estimate, and schedule,” EDF said in a press release, adding that its proposal “aims at setting the principles for a Polish-French strategic partnership framework in support of Poland’s ambitious energy transition plan, aligned with the European carbon neutrality target.”

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

October 14, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Here is a recap of industry happenings over the course of the past month:

ADVANCED REACTOR MARKETPLACE

Ukraine’s Energoatom signs deals for nuclear power exploration and deployment

Energoatom, the state-owned nuclear utility of Ukraine, and Westinghouse Electric Company have signed an agreement to bring Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to multiple sites in Ukraine. The signing took place at the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C., and was witnessed by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Ukraine’s energy minister German Galushchenko.

In addition, Energoatom signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power to explore small modular reactor deployment in Ukraine. Under the MOU, NuScale will support Energoatom’s examination of NuScale’s SMR technology, including a feasibility study for proposed project sites and the development of a project timeline and deliverables, cost studies, technical reviews, licensing and permitting activities, and project-specific engineering studies and design work.