Officials hint US will build Poland’s first nuclear power plants

Poland’s deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin met US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm to discuss the mega-project on Sunday (Government of Poland)
Polish politicians say they are closer to deciding who will get the contract to build six nuclear power stations after a meeting with US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on Sunday, World Nuclear News reports.

A delegation led by Jacek Sasin, Poland’s deputy prime minister, and Anna Moskwa, the environment minister, went to Washington to discuss Poland’s plans to create the country’s first nuclear fleet.

The work, expected to be worth around $40bn, is one of the biggest prizes in global construction. With Russia and China out of the picture for political reasons, the deal is a three-horse race between the governments and nuclear industries of the US, South Korea and France (see further reading).

After his meeting with Granholm, Sasin told journalists that the talks, which covered the first two plants, were constructive. “It was supposed to serve, and it served, to clarify all the issues that remained to be clarified when it comes to our decision to choose a foreign partner in the state-owned nuclear power project,” he said.

Then he added: "We are close to making a decision to choose a partner. I think that after this meeting we are much closer to making this decision possible.”

An expectation has grown in Poland that the US team will win the work. Media reports have claimed that Westinghouse is about to be chosen to build the first plant, and the Polish News website reported a conversation in the Sejm, Poland’s parliament, between Sasin and a reporter last Thursday, in which the minister was asked whether his visit to the US meant that “the decision to select an American entity … has already been made?”

Sasin ducked that question by pointing out that the decision would be taken by the entire government. However, he said there was “a need for some talks, explanations, clarification of certain matters. This direct conversation with Secretary Granholm, I hope, will solve most of these problems”.

Poland is planning to build pressurised water reactors with a combined installed capacity of 6-9GW. The aim is to begin the first in 2026 and complete the programme in 2040.

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