EDF offers to build six nuclear reactors for Polish government

An EPR under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland (Kallerna/Public Domain)

French utility EDF, which opened an office in Warsaw in July as part of a campaign to sell reactors to Poland’s nascent nuclear industry, has now made a preliminary offer to build up to six of its EPR designs.

The pressurised-water reactors would each produce 1,650MW of electricity, making them one of the most powerful designs presently available. If six were to be built, they would make up 20% of the country’s 50GW of installed generating capacity, three quarters of which is generated from coal and lignite. 

The number matches Poland’s decision last September to spend $40bn on building a fleet of six reactors over the next 20 years (see further reading).

As part of its non-binding offer, EDF would build power stations and develop a local supply chain. A press release from EDF claims the programme would provide long-term growth opportunities for Polish industry.

It comments: “EDF’s approach aims to embark local businesses on a significant scale, support the development of local industrial capabilities and highly qualified jobs. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 local jobs for each two EPRs could be created during the construction phase, as well as tens of thousands of indirect jobs.”

It adds that the construction would have “the full support” of the French government.

Poland is being approached by a number of countries interested in building its nuclear fleet, especially since Russian and Chinese companies are likely to be shut out of the market for political reasons.

However, EDF will have to fight with the US and South Korea for the Polish market. In 2020, the Polish government agreed a 30-year nuclear cooperation deal with the US. Although this did not include agreements to fund any projects, the topic is under negotiation.

Westinghouse recently opened a regional office in Krakow. In September, the company concluded an “historic” deal to sell four reactors to the Ukraine.

The Polish government expects its partners to take up 49% shares in special purpose companies, and procurement is likely to take the finance-build-operate form.

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