EDF said the move confirms its long-term commitment to support the Polish nuclear ambition by proposing the development of four to six EPR units in the country.
EDF has appointed Thierry Deschaux as director of the new office. Mr Deschaux recently headed energy services provider Dalkia Polska, an EDF company, and has spent the last 14 years of his career in Poland at various posts in the EDF network of subsidiaries.
Poland wants to build from 6,000 to 9,000 MW of installed nuclear capacity based on large-scale, pressurised water nuclear reactors of Generation III and III+ designs. Commercial operation of a first nuclear reactor unit in a proposed set of six is planned for 2033.
The Polish government has said no decision has been made on the technology to be used for the new-build project and the government is ready to review other offers which come their way.
According to Tomasz Nowacki, director of the nuclear energy department at Warsaw’s climate ministry, Poland’s goal is to have one strategic partner for its ambitious nuclear programme “for decades”, not only for construction but for operation and decommissioning.
Senior vice-president for new nuclear at EDF Vakis Ramany said the partnership would have three “key” aspects including bringing the Polish supply chain onboard, building the human capital for the future owner-operator, and exploring, with the support of the French government, the various financing tools and options for the Polish nuclear programme.
US-based Westinghouse Electric Company and South Korea’s Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power have also expressed interest in the Polish project. Poland has signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with the US. Westinghouse has already established an office in Warsaw and recently announced a service centre investment in Krakow.
Earlier this month, the US Trade and Development Agency announced grant funding for Poland’s Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe, the company charged with managing the country fist nuclear power project, for a front-end engineering and design study involving US-based Westinghouse Electric Company and Bechtel Corporation.