Korea’s KHNP has opened an office in Warsaw to build a nuclear power plant in Poland.
“Polska Grupa Energetyczna and ZE PAK are working closely with KHNP to build a nuclear power plant in Pątnów, where coal-fired power plants are currently located,” said KHNP President Jooho Whang. He highlighted that KHNP has built 27 nuclear units in Korea and 3 abroad, and another six are under construction. “KHNP is the only company with 50 years of experience in the construction and operation of nuclear power plants,” he added.
“KHNP and PGE PAK Nuclear Energy are in the process of establishing a feasibility study agreement. Once it is concluded, we will prepare a study in due course to be able to enter into talks on a construction contract,” Whang said. “KHNP is verifying a rational level of investment in shares in the nuclear power plant,” announced the director of the Korean company for projects in Poland and the Czech Republic Kim Jong Hoon.
“The financing model for the project will depend on the results of the feasibility study, as it will identify the most optimal model for the project to provide energy most efficiently,” Mr Whang said. “As for the Korean side, various Korean institutions are interested: insurance companies, EXIM and private banks,” he added.
The President of KHNP was asked by journalists whether the project in Pątnów would require public assistance in Poland. “Taking into account the cost of energy and the construction of power plants, it can be concluded that the cost will be USD 3,700-4,000 per megawatt. Any nuclear project requires a large investment at the beginning, but in terms of the cost of operation, the cost of fuel is low and amounts to only 15 percent of the cost of energy generation,” he explained.
“We did not use public assistance to build NPPs in Korea. We used domestic and foreign loans, issued bonds,” the President of KHNP pointed out. “We believe that public aid should not be considered, especially at the stage of operation of our power plant,” he concluded.
He also answered a question about the potential construction of a nuclear fuel production plant in Poland. “As for the decision on whether the fuel will be purchased or produced, it belongs to the company operating the power plant once it asseses the economic viability,” the KHNP President stated. “Our offer included the possibility of transferring this technology,” he admitted. However, he noted that the nuclear fuel production cycle was complex. “The operator of a nuclear power plant needs to study the route the raw material would have to take to decide whether it would be cost – effective to build such a plant,” he added, suggesting that it is possible to build one plant with nuclear fuel for the needs of several countries, as is the case for a plant serving the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.
“KHNP was in talks to conclude a feasibility study agreement with PGE PAK Nuclear Energy. Finalizing this agreement is at the final stage,” said the president of the KHNP. “The scope of the feasibility study is in line with the guidelines of the international nuclear energy institutions,” he assured.
“We had the opportunity to talk with our partners and we committed ourselves together to the rapid implementation of this project,” added the president of the Korean company. “We expect that the agreement will be concluded at the end of March this year and it will be implemented for a year and a half,” he said.
“We expect that a special purpose vehicle with the participation of KHNP will be formed at the end of the feasibility study,” said President Whang. “KHNP’s participation in the project can take two forms: investment in shares or a loan. The decision on the ratio between the investment in shares and the loan will be agreed upon at the final stage of the study,” the company president explained.
One of the journalists recalled that the process of obtaining an environmental and location decision in Poland took eight years. “Work has started on obtaining an environmental and location decision. This is not the direct responsibility of KHNP. Right now the deadline is the end of 2025,” the KHNP President declared.
He also referred to the technological dispute with the Americans. “I heard that a representative of the American industry pointed out that the participation of KHNP in the Polish atom was virtual. I have to say that probably this person has never been to the four nuclear units in the United Arab Emirates,” he commented on the legal dispute with Westinghouse. The Americans responsible for the atom in Pomerania question the sovereignty of the Koreans over the APR1400 technology. “With the export of nuclear technology to the Emirates and now to Poland, the positions of the governments of Korea and the United States have not changed. I would like to go back to saying that it is better to see than just listen,” he quipped.
“This is quite an ambitious goal, but we believe that it is still achievable given the progress in the implementation of this project,” Jooho Whang said about the date of construction of the first Korean reactor in 2035 in response to a question from BiznesAlert.pl. He recalled that the conditions in Poland were better than in the United Arab Emirates, where KHNP reactors were built on time and on budget. There is also access to highly skilled workers. “We have no doubt that this goal is achievable,” he added.
“I know that the new government in Poland is serious about implementing new energy projects. As it happens not only in Poland, but all over the world, it takes time to get acquainted with the activities of the previous government,” acknowledged the President of the Korean nuclear company. “The change of government should not affect the implementation of our project. After the new government has stabilized and all positions are appointed, we will contact representatives to report on the status of the project and provide any necessary information,” he promised.
“It is always better to see than to hear and touch than to see,” the President of KHNP quoted a Korean proverb in the context of the Pątnów NPP, announcing the organization of a visit by Polish representatives to Korean nuclear power plants. According to information obtained by BiznesAlert.pl there has not yet been a meeting between the KHNP heads and the new government.
“We will make every effort with PGE PAK Nuclear Energy for the energy from our nuclear power plant to be delivered in 2035,” concluded KHNP President Jooho Whang.
The KHNP office in Warsaw has several employees and is supported by the company’s European office in Paris. The plan is to employ Polish people to facilitate communication. KHNP has contracts with 20 Polish companies that can participate in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Pątnów. The company believes Polish capital should participate in the construction and increase from 40 to 70 percent.
The Pątnów nuclear power plant project involves cooperation between PGE PAK Energia Jądrowa and KHNP for the construction of two APR1400 reactors with a total capacity of 2.8 GW.