GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy continues to build nuclear infrastructure in Poland
Friday, Oct 05, 2012On 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.