Poland favors S. Korean reactor for civilian project to build nuclear power plant

By Lim Chang-won Posted : November 1, 2022, 17:30 Updated : November 1, 2022, 17:30

[Courtesy of Daewoo Engineering & Construction]

SEOUL -- Poland has favored South Korea as a crucial partner in pushing for a costly energy project to build a nuclear power plant after the NATO member sharing the border with Ukraine signed a series of arms deals with South Korean defense firms to purchase light attack fighters, tanks, howitzers and multiple rocket launch systems. 

At a ceremony in Seoul on October 31, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), the state-run operator of nuclear power plants, signed a letter of intent with Polish electricity producer ZE PAK and Poland's public power company PGE to work together on the development plan of a nuclear power plant west of Warsaw. It is a civilian project to build a nuclear power plant by demolishing a coal-fired power plant in Patnow. 

KHNP and its Polish partners will seek to come up with a preliminary development plan by the end of 2022. If Poland signs a final deal, it will be South Korea's first nuclear power plant export since 2009, when a KHNP consortium won a $20 billion contract to build the Barakah nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates with four APR1400 reactors. The commercial operation of the fourth reactor in Barakah is to begin in 2024.  
The agreement between KHNP and Polish companies came after Westinghouse Electric, an American nuclear power company, was selected for a separate Polish state project to build a nuclear power plant with six pressurized light-water reactors. Westinghouse filed an intellectual property suit with a U.S. district court in October, insisting that APR-1400 is based on the system of Combustion Engineering acquired by Westinghouse in 2000. 

Poland's State Assests Minister Jacek Sasin was optimistic about a final contract to use APR1400 reactors in the European nation, saying Westinghouse's suit would not be a big problem. "I think it's a problem that can be solved between companies," the minister told a press conference in Seoul.  

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that the proposed use of APR1400 reactors in Poland would revitalize South Korea's nuclear power plant industry. South Korea's new energy roadmap unveiled in July 2022 highlighted internal and external uncertainties such as the Russia-Ukraine war that disrupted a global energy supply chain and prompted major countries to reset their energy policies. 

In August 2022, KHNP signed a three trillion won deal to supply equipment and construct turbine buildings for a nuclear power plant in El Dabaa, 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Cairo. KHNP will take part in a $30 billion project to construct four nuclear reactors at the hands of Atomstroyexport JSC (ASE JSC), an engineering company of Russia's state corporation, Rosatom. KHNP's participation was not subject to U.S. sanctions as it will provide turbines that convert heat from reactors into electrical energy.   
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