April 21, 2011 / 3:53 PM / 9 years ago

Areva, Polimex to cooperate on Polish nuclear plant

* Areva signs letter of intent with Polimex

* 2020 target for first nuclear plant still achievable

* Areva offers utility PGE a stake in uranium mines

WARSAW, April 21 (Reuters) - French nuclear reactor maker Areva CEPFi.PA has signed a letter of intent with Polish builder Polimex MOSD.WA to cooperate on Poland’s first nuclear plant, an Areva official said on Thursday.

“We hope this will put our cooperation on solid grounds,” said Luc Oursel, chief operating officer for international marketing and projects.

“We will be seeking further partners in Poland, especially in the construction and mechanical equipment sectors.”

Poland wants to build a 3,000 megawatt nuclear station by 2020, a programme that the government itself calls ambitious, and it wants to build a second 3,000 MW plant by 2030.

The country’s top state-owned utility PGE PGEP.WA has been named by the government to run the project, which could be worth some 18 billion-21 billion euros.

The French reactor maker faces off against Westinghouse, U.S-based unit of Toshiba (6502.T), and Japanese-American group GE Hitachi (GE.N).

Oursel said Poland’s target of 2020 for the first station was still achievable.

“(To meet the deadline) technology would have to be selected some time in 2012 or 2013,” he said.

Poland is overhauling its regulations to create a legal framework allowing for construction of nuclear power plants.

A formal tender for the technology supplier is expected to kick off in June or July.

Oursel added PGE could buy into one of Areva’s uranium mines, rather than seek long-term delivery contracts, to increase security of supply for the future plant.

“Usually our partners acquire stakes ranging from 5 to teens percent in these mines,” Oursel said. “Values of these stakes are usually several hundred million euros.” (Reporting by Patryk Wasilewski, editing by Anthony Barker)

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