South Korea enters race for Poland’s $40bn nuclear programme

South Korea has joined the competition to develop Poland’s planned fleet of nuclear power stations.

A delegation from Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), led by chief executive Jeong Jae-hoon, went to Poland to submit a “technical and price offer” to build six of its APR-1400 reactors, World Nuclear News reports.

It follows a preliminary offer from France’s EDF to build up to six of its EPR designs in October last year.

KHNP wants to build reactors with a total capacity of 8.4GW, the first of which could start operating by Poland’s target date of 2033.

It gave Adam Guibourge-Czetwertynski, Polish vice-minister for climate and environment, a letter from Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy that “conveyed the full support of the Korean government” for the programme.

South Korea will be hoping to capitalise on the relative success of its Barakah project in the UAE, where two APR-1400s have been brought online.

EDF’s development of its EPR was hit by long delays at projects in Finland and Normandy, but the design has since been simplified, and is presently being installed at Hinkley Point C in the UK.  

As well as EDF and KHNP, US engineer Westinghouse may enter the race to win the work, which has an approximate value of $40bn. Westinghouse, which is owned by Canadian developer Brookfield, has until September to submit an offer based on its AP-1000 design.

World Nuclear News notes that Poland’s nuclear programme foresees six reactors of between 1GW and 1.5GW, developed between 2033 and 2045.

They would replace the coal-fired power stations that presently provide more than 70% of the country’s electricity.

The first large power plant will be in the north on Poland’s Baltic coast, for which an environmental impact assessment was submitted at the end of March.

Meanwhile, US engineer Bechtel yesterday agreed a memorandum of understanding with 12 Polish companies for the development of two nuclear power plants. The agreement in principle, signed at the US embassy in Warsaw, will strengthen its position when tenders are let to carry out construction work on the forthcoming facilities.

The companies provide services ranging from earthwork and infrastructure construction to concrete, tunnelling, electrical installations and heavy cranes.

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