Bechtel cooperates with Polish firms for new build

26 April 2022

Bechtel has signed Memorandums of Understanding with 12 Polish companies for the potential development of two new nuclear power plants in Poland. The US engineering firm said more agreements will follow in the future.

Bechtel's John Howanitz (centre) and Mark Brzezinski, US Ambassador to Poland, address representatives of 12 Polish companies who signed MoUs with Bechtel for potential development of two new nuclear power plants (Image: Bechtel)

The MoUs - signed during a ceremony at the US ambassador's residence in Warsaw - are with some of Poland's largest and leading firms in heavy construction and engineering. They include: electrical equipment manufacturers BAKS, Hitachi Energy Poland and Zarmen; general contractors Budimex, Doraco, Mostostal Warzsawa and Polimex Mostostal; engineering firms Energoprojekt - Katowice SA, ILF and KB Pomorze; crane, lifting and handling equipment manufacturer Protea Group; and steel fabricator Vistal Gdynia SA.

"Construction of these power plants would require Polish expertise and thousands of skilled, Polish workers," said Ahmet Tokpinar, general manager of Bechtel's Nuclear Power business line. "As the EPC partner for these projects, Bechtel intends to join with a large number of Polish companies as key members of our subcontracting team. Now is the time to identify these future partners in the supply chain."

"This signals another important step forward in a project that will bring our countries even closer together over a 100-year partnership," added US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski. "The US Embassy in Poland is pleased to support Bechtel and Westinghouse as they select local Polish suppliers for this strategic project."

In July last year, Westinghouse Electric Company announced the launch of front-end engineering and design (FEED) work under a grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency "to progress" the nuclear energy programme in Poland. Westinghouse said the FEED was one of the key elements in the implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement between Poland and the USA regarding cooperation to develop a civil nuclear power programme.

Westinghouse is executing the FEED - which will be based on AP1000 technology - together with Bechtel. The FEED study will be reviewed later this year by the Polish government to help in its selection of the best partner for the nuclear power plant programme.

In January, Westinghouse signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with ten Polish companies for cooperation on the potential deployment of AP1000 nuclear power plants in Poland and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. The MoUs include cooperation on the possible construction of six AP1000 plants for the Polish nuclear power plant programme.

The diplomatic notes Poland and the USA exchanged in 2020 on cooperation in the development of Poland's civil nuclear power programme officially entered into force in March 2021. This means the USA has 18 months from that date to prepare both a technology and a financing offer to build nuclear power plants in Poland.

Poland's Energy Policy for 2040 is based on three pillars: a just transition; a zero-emission energy system; and good air quality. The first 1-1.6 GWe nuclear unit is to be commissioned in 2033, with five more units, or 6-9 GWe, to follow by 2040. The coastal towns of Lubiatowo and Kopalino in Poland's Choczewo municipality have been named as the preferred location for the country's first large nuclear power plant.

Poland has already received an offer from Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power for the construction of six APR-1400 reactors and an offer from EDF for up to six EPR units. Westinghouse has until September this year to submit its offer.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News