Korea is looking to become a powerhouse in nuclear power plant exports with government plans to export 10 nuclear plants by 2030. Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Romania are potential candidates to host Korea’s second-ever nuclear plant export.
The first nuclear power plant export deal was to construct a plant in Barakah, the United Arab Emirates, which began operations earlier this year. However, Korea is yet to ink its second export deal.
Separate from these full nuclear power plant export agreements, Korea sealed a 195-million-euro ($212.4 million) nuclear facility deal with Romania Tuesday, securing Korea’s biggest-ever deal for a single nuclear facility and the Yoon Suk Yeol government’s second nuclear facility export following the El-Dabaa project in Egypt from August last year.
The Patnow nuclear power plant project in Poland is the most likely destination for the second full nuclear power plant export, according to sources from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea Hydrogen & Nuclear Power (KHNP) Wednesday.
The Patnow project will build two nuclear plants using the homemade APR1400 reactor technology. KHNP signed a letter of intent with Poland’s Zespol Elektrowni Patnow-Adamov-Konin and state-owned Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) for the 1.4-gigawatt project.
Korean and Polish officials are undertaking working-level talks to seal a service contract for a feasibility study of the Patnow plant.
The Czech Republic’s 1.2-gigawatt Dukovany nuclear plant project, a deal estimated to be worth 6 billion euros, is another project the Korean government is eyeing. KHNP submitted its bid in November and is competing with France’s EDF and U.S. Westinghouse. The Eastern European country plans to select the winner by next year.
Korea Electric Power Corporation in January submitted a preliminary bid to the Turkish government for a $30 billion project building four APR1400 plants, delivering 1.4 gigawatts of electricity apiece, in the northern region of the country. The two parties plan to begin a feasibility study next year, after which a memorandum of understanding to break ground could be signed.
Romania recently rose as a possible export target following KHNP’s agreement with Romania’s Nuclearelectrica to build a tritium removal facility in Romania.
Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita said during Tuesday’s signing ceremony in central Seoul that KHNP may be involved in future Romanian projects considering its technology.
President Yoon has placed nuclear power plant export deals high on his political agenda, making an effort for a comeback from the previous Moon Jae-in administration’s nuclear phase-out scheme.
Korea will have to overcome some of the variables lying ahead, such as its legal disputes with the United States over nuclear power plant exports.
Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse filed a lawsuit against KHNP for intellectual property infringement in October claiming that KHNP needs U.S. government approval to sell APR1400 plants overseas because APR1400 reactors are created based on Westinghouse technology.
KHNP argued that APR1400 is free from U.S. export restrictions because its core technology is domestically developed.
“The Westinghouse lawsuit is about to obstruct nuclear power plant export plans one after the other […] settling this issue is a top priority,” a source from the nuclear plant industry told the JoongAng Ilbo on condition of anonymity.