On the heels of GE’s (NYSE: GE) 20th anniversary celebration in Poland earlier this week, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with one of Poland’s preeminent technical universities, the Warsaw University of Technology (Warsaw UT).
The agreement between the two industry leading entities focuses on future nuclear workforce development and other innovation opportunities in anticipation of Poland implementing a nuclear energy program for the first time. This agreement is a prime example of GEH’s philosophy of leveraging local expertise and building infrastructure in areas adopting nuclear power.
“Signing this MOU with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy illustrates how important it is for the nuclear industry to work with Poland’s academic, government and business communities to develop a human and infrastructure capacity that is well positioned for the future,” said Professor Jan Szmidt, rector of Warsaw UT, one of the country’s largest universities.
The MOU builds on the long-term collaboration of GEH and Warsaw UT on various workforce development initiatives. In 2010, GEH donated 10
of its GateCycle™ licenses (relating to a customized software package used to model nuclear steam cycles) to Warsaw UT to help train a new generation of engineers to operate Poland’s future nuclear power plants. Each May, GEH also sponsors an annual Nuclear Congress organized by Warsaw UT. Additionally, a number of students from both Warsaw UT and other institutions from across Poland held summer internships at GEH’s global headquarters in Wilmington, N.C.
“For more than 50 years, from connecting the first nuclear reactor to a commercial electricity grid in Vallecitos, Calif., in 1957 to constructing the only Generation III reactor built today, GE and Hitachi have been building nuclear industries from the ground up. GEH, GE and Hitachi’s global nuclear alliance, has the experience, best practices and best technology, including the world’s safest reactor, to bring safe, reliable nuclear energy to Poland,” said Craig Ihrke, vice president of commercial operations for GEH.
This collaboration between GEH and Warsaw UT is the latest in a series of similar agreements that GEH has made with several Polish universities to help ensure that the country develops a deep domestic pool of nuclear engineers and skilled workers needed to build and operate future nuclear power plants. For example, GEH is working with Warsaw UT and other schools to enhance educational and training opportunities for a wide range of important positions, including: mechanical engineers, corrosion protection specialists, electrical engineers and chemical engineers.
“GE employs more than 1,300 engineers at the company’s Engineering Design Center in Warsaw. Many of these engineers were educated in Poland’s technical universities, proving they are an excellent source of highly qualified specialists to support Poland’s nuclear energy industry,” Ihrke said.
Polish utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. (PGE) is seeking to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant to help diversify the country’s energy supplies. Currently Poland obtains 95 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants. PGE is considering several reactor designs, including two of GEH’s advanced technologies. The Generation III+ Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) is GEH’s newest reactor design and offers the world’s most advanced passive safety systems. In addition, GEH’s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) is the world’s only existing commercially proven and operational Generation III reactor design.
Previously GEH has announced a number of other preliminary project development agreements with various companies and organizations to support future projects in Poland, including the following:
• Fluor Corp., to serve as GEH's engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner (2011).
• Energoprojekt Warszawa, S.A. (EW), a Warsaw-based engineering firm (2011).
• The Institute of Atomic Energy in Poland (POLATOM), a research institute located in Świerk that advises the government on nuclear energy issues (2011).
• Stocznia Gdansk, a leading Polish shipyard, for the potential manufacturing of nuclear components for GEH (2011).
• RAFAKO S.A., Europe’s leading boiler equipment manufacturer, for the potential manufacturing of nuclear components for GEH (2011).
• Gdansk University of Technology, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin University and Koszalin University of Technology (2011).
• SNC-Lavalin Polska, a global engineering services firm (2010).
In addition to GEH supporting Poland’s nuclear energy activities, GEH’s parent, GE, is playing a key role in a diverse array of other cleaner energy projects in Poland. Earlier today (October 4), GE helped celebrate the start-up of a new 2-megawatt (MW) agricultural biogas engine cogeneration power plant north of Rawa Mazowiecka in central Poland, 80 kilometers southeast of Warsaw. On October 2, GE also announced it will supply its advanced gas turbine technology for a new 450-MW, combined-cycle power plant in the city of Stalowa Wola—the largest gas-fired project in Poland.
 Based on Core Damage Frequency
About GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
Based in Wilmington, N.C., GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is a world-leading provider of advanced reactor technology and nuclear services. Established in June 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor performance, power output and safety.
Tom Murnane, Masto Public Relations
P: + 1 518 786 6488 - E: tom.murnane[.]mastopr.com.
Howard Masto, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 - E: howard.masto[.]ge.com.
GE news, Masto Public Relations - E: information[.]mastopr.com.