Westinghouse & Bechtel sign contract for Poland AP1000 nuclear reactor

Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ), Poland’s designated entity tasked with developing the country’s first nuclear plant in Pomerania, has signed an engineering services contract with a Westinghouse-Bechtel consortium, allowing site-specific work to begin on the AP1000 power plant.

The companies announced the “historic” contract on Sept. 27, one week after nuclear technology giant Westinghouse and global engineering firm Bechtel formalized a partnership to design and build Poland’s inaugural AP1000 nuclear plant. The agreements mark significant milestones toward the commercial operation of the much-watched reactor project, which is geared to meet Poland’s goal to begin nuclear power generation in 2033.

Heavyweight Consortium for a Pioneering Project

PEJ has said that it has favored a consortium model “from the beginning,” because it provides an opportunity to take advantage of the “unique competence and experience” Westinghouse and Bechtel gained during the construction of the Vogtle expansion, a twin-AP1000 reactor project that is nearing completion in the U.S.

Bechtel, which joined the Vogtle expansion project, in Georgia in 2017, has notably designed, built, or provided services to 80 nuclear reactors in the U.S. and 150 worldwide, across all major reactor designs. “This is a team with demonstrated ability to deliver on large nuclear energy projects,” said David Durham, president for Energy Systems at Westinghouse. “The fleet experience we have earned with our advanced, proven AP1000 technology, including a 100% complete design and construction lessons learned, will serve Poland well as it seeks decarbonization and increased energy security.”

Under the 18-month engineering services contract, Westinghouse and Bechtel will jointly design the nuclear plant, though these activities will also involve Poland’s domestic industry, PEJ said. “Nearly 2 million man-hours and the support of the industry’s top professionals have been envisaged for this goal,” it noted.