Words from Westinghouse: The nuclear supply chain impacts and challenges

June 7, 2024, 3:04PMNuclear NewsGuest Contributor
A cut-away view of Westinghouse’s AP300 reactor. (Image: Westinghouse)

Power generation from nuclear fission as a clean and stable source of electricity has secured the interest of policymakers and industry leaders around the globe. Last fall, the United States spearheaded a pledge at COP28 to get countries to agree to triple nuclear capacity worldwide, and recently the members of the Group of 7 (G7) nations that currently use nuclear power have reaffirmed their pledges to invest in that power source to cut carbon emissions.

As of this writing, U.S. policymakers are trying to make good on that promise by passing legislation to support nuclear power, funding the domestic fuel supply chain, and working to pass the ADVANCE Act. On top of the support from Washington, D.C., power-hungry industries like data centers and chemical engineering are looking to secure stable, carbon-free power directly from power plants.

Geological work begins on Poland’s first nuclear plant

April 25, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Project management firm Bechtel started site geological surveys for Poland’s first nuclear power plant project, the company announced on Wednesday.

Bechtel will conduct in-depth geological surveys at the Lubiatowo-Kopalino site in the Pomeranian municipality of Choczewo, in northern Poland. This is a key milestone for the country’s entry into nuclear power production, as the surveys will inform the suitability of the planned site.

Notes from Poland

March 25, 2024, 9:32AMNuclear NewsWojciech Jerzy Głuszewski
Aerial photo of Warsaw city center in Poland.

The development of nuclear power is one of the pillars of Poland’s energy transition, which involves construction of safe and modern Generation III+ pressurized water reactors.

Polskie Elektrownie Ja˛drowe (PEJ) is the company responsible for, among other things, preparing the investment process for the construction of the first Polish nuclear power plant with a capacity of up to 3,750 MWe. PEJ’s goal is to build six nuclear reactors (for a total capacity of 6–9 GWe), securing 25 percent of the electricity needed in Poland by 2043 and guaranteeing a stable supply of clean energy to millions of homes across the country.

Engineering services contract signed for first Polish plant

September 29, 2023, 6:55AMNuclear News
At the September 27 signing ceremony for the engineering services contract to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant are, from left, John Howanitz, president of Bechtel’s nuclear, security, and environmental global business unit; Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman; Polish government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska; Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki; U.S. ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski; assistant secretary of energy for international affairs Andrew Light; and Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe president Mateusz Berger. (Photo: Bechtel)

Just one week after inking a consortium agreement to partner on the design and construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant, Westinghouse Electric Company and Bechtel joined state-owned Polish utility Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ) in Warsaw on Wednesday for the signing of the project’s engineering services contract.

Environmental regulator gives nod to plans for first Polish nuclear plant

September 27, 2023, 4:59PMNuclear News

Poland’s General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDOŚ) has given its imprimatur to the Central European nation’s plan to build and operate its first nuclear power facility, state-owned utility Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe announced last Friday.

PEJ, which submitted its environmental impact report for the proposed project to GDOŚ in March 2022, called the decision “a key permit obtained in the investment process, because subsequent administrative approvals, including the decision to determine the location of the investment and the building permit, must comply with the arrangements and conditions contained in the decision on environmental conditions.”

U.S., Polish nuclear regulators renew pact

June 29, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
From left, NRC chair Christopher Hanson and PAA president Andrzej Głowacki sign a cooperation agreement in Washington, D.C. (Photo: PAA)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) have renewed their cooperation agreement for the next five years.

OPG to collaborate further with Polish firm on SMR deployment in Europe

June 7, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Officials gather after OPG and OSGE signed a letter of intent on SMR deployment in Europe on June 2. (Photo: OSGE)

Ontario Power Generation—owner and operator of Canada’s Darlington and Pickering nuclear plants—and Poland’s ORLEN Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) have signed a letter of intent (LOI) that builds on the companies’ existing cooperation on the deployment of small modular reactors in Europe, OPG announced last week.

Last Energy sets up microreactor deals for Poland and the U.K.

March 29, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
A rendering of Last Energy's nuclear power plant. (Image: Last Energy)

Startup company Last Energy has announced power purchase agreements for 34 units of its 20-MWe nuclear power plants with four industrial partners in Poland and the United Kingdom. In total, according to the company, the deals represent more than $18.9 billion in electricity sales.

GEH Nuclear Energy celebrates three-nation plan for BWRX-300 standard design

March 23, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News
A technical collaboration agreement was signed by (seated from left) Jay Wileman, GEH; Jeff Lyash, TVA; Ken Hartwick, OPG; and Rafał Kasprów, SGE; and was observed by dignitaries and an audience both in-person and online. (Photo: TVA)

“I’m glad you came to our party!” said GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) chief nuclear officer Nicole Holmes as she prepared to announce that Wilmington, N.C.–based GEH will develop a standard design for its BWRX-300 boiling water small modular reactor with not one but three power producers representing three countries: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and Synthos Green Energy (SGE). Celebration was a theme throughout the March 23 event held in Washington, D.C., which was flush with dignitaries representing the United States, Canada, and Poland.

Poland, Westinghouse further solidify plans for AP1000 construction

February 24, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left, Westinghouse Energy Systems president David Durham, Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe president Tomasz Stępień, and Westinghouse Poland president Mirosław Kowalik sign a contract on February 22 to advance Poland’s nascent nuclear energy program. (Photo: Westinghouse Electric Company)

State-owned Polish utility Polskie Electrownie Jądrowe and U.S.-based Westinghouse on February 22 moved a step closer to their end goal—the deployment of multiple AP1000 reactors in Poland—with the signing of a contract covering front-end engineering, early procurement work, and program development.

EDF, Respect Energy to collaborate on nuclear projects in Poland

January 20, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
An illustration of EDF’s NUWARD small modular reactor technology. (Image: EDF)

France’s Électricité de France and Polish renewable energy trader Respect Energy have signed a cooperation agreement to develop nuclear power projects in Poland based on EDF’s NUWARD small modular reactor technology, the companies jointly announced last Friday.

Looking back at 2022—October through December

January 6, 2023, 9:09AMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from September through December 2022.

But first:

Countries change nuclear policies in response to Ukraine war

January 6, 2023, 7:09AMNuclear News

As a direct result of the war in Ukraine, several countries have changed their policies on nuclear energy—even those with long-standing nuclear phase-out plans. This February will mark one year since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, leading to ongoing war and turning pandemic-era energy shortages into a global energy crisis. Spiking gas prices and concerns about electricity supply during the cold winter months have thrown many governments into a frenzy as they try to ease the impact on their citizens.

Countries in the process of phasing out their nuclear power had been prepared to increase their reliance on natural gas. But as Russia supplies 40 percent of the European Union’s natural gas, nations with no reliable alternative now face sky-high energy prices—even energy poverty. Across Europe and beyond, nuclear power plants slated for permanent closure have been given second chances to shore up energy supply. Nuclear power has also claimed a bigger spotlight in countries’ strategies for energy independence.

First unit at Shin-Hanul begins commercial operation

December 12, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
South Korea’s Shin-Hanul-1 (on left) and -2. (Photo: KHNP)

Unit 1 at South Korea’s Shin-Hanul nuclear power plant entered commercial operation last week, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has announced. The 1,340-MWe APR-1400—designed by KHNP and parent firm Korea Electric Power Company—achieved initial criticality on May 22 of this year and was connected to the grid on June 9.

Impressions from the IAEA General Conference

November 16, 2022, 9:30AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

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


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.)