Poland chooses US firm to build first nuclear power plant
Brussels, Oct 29: A US firm has beaten out its French and South Korean competitors in landing a contract to build Poland's first-ever nuclear power plant, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday.
Westinghouse Electric Company was granted the multi-billion euro deal as Poland seeks to secure its energy supplies independent of Russian gas.
"We confirm our nuclear energy project will use the reliable, safe technology of [Westinghouse]," Morawiecki wrote on Twitter.
Washington celebrates announcement
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm welcomed the decision, calling it a "huge step in strengthening our relationship with Poland for future generations to come."
"I think it sends a clear message to Russia that the Atlantic alliance stands together to diversify our energy supply... and to resist Russian weaponization of energy," Granholm also said.
Westinghouse outbid French company EDF and South Korea's state-run Korea Hydro Nuclear Power (KHNP).
"This is a huge deal because this is not just about a commercial energy project, it is about a way we will define ... interdependent security for decades to come," a senior US government official told reporters.
Poland's long-term nuclear plans
Warsaw has been eyeing up development of its own civil nuclear capacity for years but was spurred into action by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent standoff with NATO, of which Poland is a member.
Poland has one of the most carbon-intensive energy networks thanks to its heavy use of coal.
But it hopes to meet between 25% and 36% of its energy needs with the up to six nuclear reactors it is planning to build by 2040.
Warsaw wants its first nuclear power station up and running by 2033 and has selected the village of Choczewo near the Baltic coast for the location.
The EU recently categorized nuclear energy — as well as energy from burning natural gas — as "green" despite heavy pushback from countries such as Germany and Austria.