(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 10-11)
SEOUL, Oct. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Poland signed an agreement Monday to jointly push for a plan to build a nuclear power plant in the European nation, raising hopes for Seoul's first nuclear power plant export in more than a decade, Seoul's industry ministry said Monday.
The state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) Co., Polish private energy group ZE PAK and Polish state-owned public power company PGE signed a letter of intent in Seoul, which calls for working together on the development plan of a nuclear power plant at the Patnow site, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The Patnow site is located some 240 kilometers west of Warsaw, and the construction will be based on the APR1400 technology, which is a next-generation reactor model developed by South Korea, and boasts a larger capacity, a longer lifespan and cost effectiveness.
The entities are seeking to come up with a preliminary development plan for the construction by the end of this year, it added.
The agreement was made days after Poland chose U.S. nuclear energy firm Westinghouse to build a separate nuclear power plant, where the KHNP and France's EDF also submitted bids.
If the two nations clinch a final deal for the Patnow project, it will be South Korea's first nuclear power plant export since the 2009 Barakah project in the United Arab Emirates.
Seoul's industry ministry also signed with Poland's state assets ministry a memorandum of understanding to actively back the project and to boost bilateral cooperation in the nuclear energy sector.
"The construction of the nuclear power plant in Patnow could be a support for Poland's nuclear energy program, which is crucial for us from a national perspective," said Jacek Sasin, the Polish deputy prime minister who doubles as the country's state assets minister.
"Certainly, this would be the next step in strengthening business cooperation between our countries, and a great opportunity for knowledge and experience transfer," the Polish minister said.
The Polish minister also raised the possibility that the European nation could sign a formal deal for the Patnow project.
A feasibility study for a deal is expected to take around one year and the deal is forecast to be worth about 10 trillion won (US$7 billion) at its minimum price, according to an industry source.
South Korea's Yoon Suk-yeol government vowed to boost the nuclear energy sector by reversing the nuclear phase-out policy of the preceding administration. It also set a target of exporting 10 nuclear power reactors by 2030.
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