Poland is close to choosing Westinghouse Electric Co. to help it build its first nuclear power plant as the European Union’s largest eastern economy rushes to replace its aging coal-fired units.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin and Climate Minister Anna Moskwa announcement their preferred option after meeting with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm over the weekend. Westinghouse is competing with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. and Electricite de France SA for the deal.
“We cannot put aside that the US is our strategic partner for whole Polish security architecture,” Sasin said at press conference in Washington, while also pointing to war in Ukraine. “Such factors have to be taken into account. There is a big chance that we will finally pick Westinghouse.”
After years of deliberations about new investment, Poland is seeking to start its first nuclear reactor in 2033 as part of a plan to build between 6 and 9 gigawatts of capacity. The government has identified Choczewo near the Baltic Sea as the site of an initial three-reactor plant and plans to pick the technology supplier by the end of 2022.
Poland will select a partner before deciding on the location for next plant, Sasin said. The country had been expected to choose a second supplier and in recent weeks, media reported that the PGE SA and ZE PAK SA utilities are seeking to sign a letter of intent with South Korea’s KHNP for a nuclear plant in central Poland.
Sasin said the government “will support” commercial initiatives providing they are in line with the country’s energy strategy. He didn’t reveal the potential value of a deal with Westinghouse.
Nuclear power will provide stable electricity generation for Poland, which is also planning to construct offshore wind farms and invest in photovoltaic energy in its goal to shun fossil fuels by 2050.