French utility EDF has opened an office in Warsaw as part of a campaign to persuade Poland to base its ambitious nuclear build programme on the its pressurised-water reactors.
The announcement was made during a press conference attended by Frédéric Billet, Paris’ ambassador to Poland, and Philippe Crouzet, the official appointed to handle nuclear cooperation with Warsaw. The two expressed France’s full support for the development of between four and six EPR reactors.
Crouzet commented: "France offers a European solution based on third-generation EPR reactor technology, already recognised by several European nuclear safety authorities, and on 50 years of experience in the nuclear industry."
Last year, Poland revealed plans to invest $40bn in six nuclear reactors over the next 20 years, making the country one of the world’s most important market for nuclear services (see further reading).
Poland is particularly attractive for Western nuclear companies because the country’s frosty relations with Russia and China significantly decreases the competition they will face in bidding for reactor projects.
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.
Two years ago, energy minister Krzysztof TchÃ³rzewski suggested that the first reactor would be built on the coast of Pomerania.
The Polish government expects its partners to take up 49% shares in special purpose companies, and procurement is likely to take the finance, build, operator form.
At present, Poland does not have any reactors.
Image: EDF took over nuclear engineer Areva’s reactor business in 2017 (Stefan KÃ¼nh/CC BY-SA 3.0)