France makes nuclear offer to Poland

14 October 2021

France's EDF has made an offer to the Polish government to build as many as six EPR units. A project of that size would decarbonise 40% of the country's electricity and avoid up to 55 million tons of CO2 per year, EDF said. The "non-binding preliminary offer" represents a range of options for Poland. It details the engineering, procurement and construction that would be needed for four to six EPR units, at either two or three sites. The EPR units would produce 1650 MWe each.

A cutaway of an EPR reactor (Image: EDF Energy)

EDF estimates that "about 25,000 local jobs" could be created at a construction site with two EPRs, as well as "tens of thousands" of indirect jobs.

"The offer aims at meeting the objectives of the Polish Nuclear Power Programme adopted by the Polish government in October 2020," said EDF, adding: "It aims at setting the principles for a Polish-French strategic partnership framework in support of Poland’s ambitious energy transition plan, aligned with the European carbon neutrality target."

Poland plans to build large nuclear reactors in the north of the country and has been developing environmental studies while engaging with communities near Żarnowiec and Lubiatowo-Kopalino. The state-owned project company handling the work is called Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe, having changed its name from PGE EJ 1 in June this year.

EDF said it has been "committed to partner the Polish nuclear power programme since its inception, with the full support of the French government." Both the countries are among the 10 EU nations of the Nuclear Alliance which has demanded nuclear power be included in the EU's Taxonomy list of sustainable investment options.

The US government is also keen to support Poland's nuclear power plans, with Westinghouse promoting its AP1000 design. Westinghouse recently upped its involvement in the country by opening a regional services centre in Krakow.

In parallel, Poland has a thriving small reactor scene, with energy intensive industrial companies Synthos, Ciech, KGHM, Unimot and PKN Orlen working towards upgrading to new small reactors. Synthos' subsidiary Synthos Green Energy is collaborating with ZE Pak to potentially replace coal units at the Pątnów power plant with nuclear units.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News