GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA (PGE), Poland’s largest power company, announced March 5 a new agreement to collaborate on Poland’s initiative to build next-generation commercial nuclear power plants.
Poland plans to build two nuclear power plants to help diversify its energy production, which relies heavily on coal-based technologies. European Union (EU) member states have agreed to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Nuclear energy is an attractive option because it generates electricity with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
PGE, one of the largest companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, is leading the country’s initiative to build two nuclear power plants, with each site featuring multiple reactors. Today, about 90 percent of Poland’s electricity comes from domestic coal-fired power plants. Poland’s first nuclear reactor is targeted for completion in 2020.
“As we prepare to build Poland's first commercial nuclear power plants, we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is offering us their expertise,” said Tomasz Zadroga, Management Board President at PGE. “We are committed to carefully choosing a reactor technology that meets our economic and technical priorities.”
Under a new agreement, GEH will help PGE study the feasibility of building up to four reactors based on one of GEH’s reactor designs: the 1,350-MWe ABWR or the 1,520-MWe ESBWR, GEH’s newest design offering the world’s most advanced passive safety systems.
GEH’s Generation III+ ESBWR is the world’s most advanced passive safety and natural circulation reactor design, offering enhanced safety and lower construction and operating costs than previous generation reactors. The ESBWR currently is progressing in the design certification process of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The agency’s published review schedule targets completion next year—the first for any reactor design currently under NRC review.
GEH’s ABWR is the world’s only commercially proven Generation III reactor design with successful construction and operational experience. The first of four ABWRs in service today went online in Japan in 1996, and four additional units are being built.
“GE has been actively engaged in coal, gas, biogas and wind projects in Poland, and we understand the country’s unique circumstances,” said Danny Roderick, a GEH senior vice president. “PGE’s move to develop a nuclear power project is a positive step toward improved energy security and reducing carbon emissions in Poland – two strategic priorities for the country.”
An ESBWR or ABWR would avoid annual emissions equivalent to approximately 1.3 million cars.
Backed by an experienced global supply chain, the nuclear alliance formed by GE and Hitachi continues to apply the latest modular construction techniques in building nuclear power plants worldwide. This construction expertise, combined with state-of-the-art reactor technology, enables the alliance to deliver today’s generation of nuclear plants more efficiently, on time and on budget.