Poland picks US firm to build 1st nuclear power station: PM

Poland on Friday picked US firm Westinghouse to build its first nuclear power station, as the country bids to shore up its energy security at a time of soaring tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

Westinghouse beat rival bids from France's EDF and South Korea's KHNP for the multi-billion dollar (euro) deal, although Poland has held out the possibility of other nuclear tenders in the future.

"We confirm our nuclear energy project will use the reliable, safe technology of @WECNuclear," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter.

Morawiecki said the decision would be formally adopted at a cabinet meeting in Warsaw on Wednesday.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm hailed Poland's announcement, tweeting: "This is a huge step in strengthening our relationship with Poland for future generations to come.

"I think it sends a clear message to Russia that the Atlantic alliance stands together to diversify our energy supply... and to resist Russian weaponisation of energy," she said in a video.

Granholm said Poland had picked Westinghouse "for the first part of their $40bn nuclear project", without specifying the amount of the investment.

A senior US government official speaking on condition of anonymity said only that the deal was valued in the "billions" and would create "thousands of good-paying jobs".

"This is a huge deal because this is not just about a commercial energy project, it's about the way we will define what I would call interdependent security for decades to come," the official said.

- Online by 2033 -

The decision "sends an unmistakable message to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin about the strength and the meshing together of the US-Poland alliance," the official added.

And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet he was "very pleased" about the deal to "help produce safe, clean, and reliable nuclear power".

"The United States is proud to be Poland’s strong partner for energy and security," Blinken tweeted.

Poland has been planning a civil nuclear energy capacity for years, but the issue of energy security has taken on added urgency because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Denmark, Norway and Poland last month unveiled a new pipeline that will carry Norwegian gas to Poland via Denmark after Russia cut off Warsaw's supplies.

The Polish government has said it wants its first nuclear power station to go online in 2033.

It has selected the village of Choczewo near the Baltic coast as the site for the plant.

The first plant is planned to have three reactors and the government has said it expects to select a supplier to build three more reactors in the future.

"The second set (of 3 reactors) will be coming down the road at a date to be determined subject to a decision by the government of Poland and we anticipate that to be Westinghouse as well," the US official said.

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