Westinghouse vice-president for new plant projects Joel Eacker told Energetyka24 that the planned date of 2033 for commissioning the first plant “still seems distant”, but “actions must be started now”.
He said the foundations for the first plant would need to be poured in 2028 and the main equipment purchased 40 months before that – potentially in 2024 or 2025.
“Therefore, we must use the next two years, or rather, 18 months, to work with Polish companies interested in participating in the supply chain and assess their production capabilities,” Mr Eacker said. “We need to see what their potential is in terms of meeting quality and technical requirements. And I would like to emphasise that we have met a lot of good suppliers.
“We are very happy that we will be able to work with a number of Polish companies, and this is just the beginning. We will talk to more.
"We expect that over a half of the value of each nuclear power unit may come from Poland in terms of materials, labour, production, services,” Mr Eacker told Poland’s state newswire PAP.
Mr Eacker was speaking after Westinghouse signed memorandums of understanding with 10 Polish companies for cooperation on the potential deployment of AP1000 nuclear power plants in Poland and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe.
The MoUs, signed in Gdańsk and at Westinghouse’s office in Warsaw, include cooperation on the possible construction of six AP1000 plants for the Polish nuclear power plant programme.
The agreements are with engineering and construction firms Rafako, KB Pomorze and Polimex Mostostal; steel companies ZKS Ferrum, Mostostal Kraków, OMIS and Zarmen Group; shipbuilder GP Baltic; power generator manufacturer Fogo; and crane manufacturer Protea Group.
“Westinghouse is well positioned to help Poland meet its energy goals through in-country investments in nuclear technologies, our global shared services centre in Krakow where nearly 200 employees work to support the company's global operations, and to provide Poland with the best technology to support its climate change goals and secure the energy needs of its economy,” said Miroslaw Kowalik, president of Westinghouse Poland.
Piotr Naimski, the government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure, told the lower house of parliament, the Sejm, earlier this month that Poland aims to make a decision this autumn on which reactor technology it will use as part of its plans to build nuclear plants. He said Poland needs nuclear because energy from renewable sources alone cannot ensure security.
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.
The Polish government has said no decision has been made on the technology and it is ready to review offers.
In July, French state-controlled energy group EDF said it had opened an office in Warsaw to support the preparation of a nuclear offer using its EPR technology. In September, Westinghouse opened its global shared services centre in Krakow. South Korea’s Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has also said it is interested in the project, which unconfirmed estimates have valued at PLN100bn (€21.8bn)
Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ), the company charged with managing the nuclear power project, recently announced a site in the northern province of Pomerania near the Baltic coast had been selected as the preferred location for Poland’s first commercial nuclear power station.
The site, Lubiatowo-Kopalino, in the coastal commune of Choczewo, was chosen on the basis of “detailed site investigation and environmental surveys conducted on a scale unprecedented in Poland”.