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US to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A cooling tower from the Turow coal-fired power plant is seen near the Turow open-pit coal mine operated by the company PGE in Bogatynia, Poland, June 15, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

The United States’ Westinghouse Electric Company has been granted a multi-billion-euro contract to build Poland's first-ever nuclear power plant as Warsaw seeks new energy sources to replace Russian gas.

"We confirm our nuclear energy project will use the reliable, safe technology of [Westinghouse]," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday wrote on Twitter.

A strong 🇵🇱-🇺🇸alliance guarantees the success of our joint initiatives. After talks with @VP K.Harris and @SecGranholm we confirm our nuclear energy project will use the reliable, safe technology of @WECNuclear. Thank you @USAmbPoland. Council of Ministers resolution on Wednesday

— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) October 28, 2022

US Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed the nuclear deal, saying the move benefited both sides.

"US partnership on this project is advantageous for us all," Harris claimed in a tweet on Friday.

In my conversations with PM Morawiecki of Poland, in Warsaw and on the phone, I made clear that U.S. partnership on this project is advantageous for us all: we can address the climate crisis, strengthen European energy security, and deepen the U.S.-Poland strategic relationship.

— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) October 28, 2022

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm followed suit, calling the contract a "huge step in strengthening our relationship with Poland for future generations to come."

Granholm added that building the nuclear power plant will enable Warsaw to gain independence from Russia in regard to energy.

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

Granholm also said the contract will create or sustain more than 100,000 jobs for American workers.

📣BIG NEWS: Poland's PM Mateusz Morawiecki just announced Poland will select the U.S. government & Westinghouse for the first part of their $40B nuclear project, creating or sustaining 100,000+ jobs for American workers. Thank you for your hard work with @ENERGY, @USAmbPoland! 1/

— Secretary Jennifer Granholm (@SecGranholm) October 28, 2022

A senior US government official told reporters that the Poland nuclear deal will define "interdependent security for decades to come."

Prior to this contract, Poland had threatened to veto any formal plan obliging the European Union’s member to cut gas consumption if such a plan is approved in a “qualified majority” vote not a unanimous one.

EU member states had agreed to reduce gas consumption by 15 percent as concerns mounted over the EU's gas and electricity supplies during the winter months.

"In an effort to increase EU security of energy supply, member states today reached a political agreement on a voluntary reduction of natural gas demand by 15 percent this winter," the European Council said in a statement about their agreement in July.

Up to a quarter of the EU's electricity is generated in power plants that burn natural gas.

In 2021, the EU had imported about 60 percent of the energy it consumed, with 40 percent of that coming from Russia. Natural gas made up the largest proportion of this Russian supply at 41 percent of total consumption. Oil made up a further 36 percent and coal 20 percent.

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