Bechtel & Westinghouse Unite for European Nuclear Power

Westinghouse Electric was founded in 1999
Bechtel, in collaboration with Westinghouse Electric Company and the Czech Power Industry Alliance, introduce new nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic

Construction giant Bechtel, Westinghouse Electric Company and the Czech Power Industry Alliance (CPIA) have inked a pivotal agreement to introduce up to four AP1000 reactors at the Dukovany and Temelin nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic.

American nuclear power company Westinghouse was founded in 1999, and is celebrating 25 years in business in 2024. Brookfield Renewable Partners — a Canadian private equity fund and a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management — is the majority owner of the business. 

“Our AP1000 projects benefit greatly from robust localisation of critical manufacturing and services work,” Westinghouse’s Energy Systems President David Durham said. “I expect that at least 70% of the work for this major project will go to Czech companies.”

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Durham, a key figure at Westinghouse since 2015 and previously Chief Commercial Officer of GE Hitachi for five years, underscores the significance of local involvement in the AP1000 projects.

Expressing gratitude for the collaboration that promises long-term benefits across the country, he added: “We are grateful for the partnership with CPIA, one that will pay dividends to the Czech Republic for generations.”

Energy developments boosting local economy

Josef Perlík, Alliance Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SIGMA Group and Executive Director of the CPIA, added: “We see the signing of this agreement as a very important step in the mutual cooperation of all parties involved. The working group’s efforts will ensure maximum involvement of the Czech industry in the construction of new nuclear power sources in the Czech Republic as a truly strategic partner of the AP1000 technology.”

The CPIA, which brings together the largest nuclear energy technology companies across the Czech Republic, has at its core the mission to coordinate strategic interests, key partnerships and cooperation of member companies with partners including ministries and state regulatory authorities.

Bechtel's Ahmet Tokpinar, Elias Gedeon of Westinghouse and the CPIA's Josef Perlik and Lukas Zednik

That sentiment and determination is echoed in American engineering, procurement, construction and project management company Bechtel.

“For more than 70 years, Bechtel has been at the forefront of delivering state-of-the-art nuclear power technologies,” remarked John Howanitz, President of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security, and Environmental business unit.

Howanitz — a veteran project manager at Bechtel with a career at the company spanning back to 1982 — brings a wealth of experience, having held leadership roles in various projects including fossil power plants, commercial nuclear power plants, combined-cycle natural gas units, waste-to-energy facilities and a NASA launch complex.

He continued: “We know that the most successful projects include partnering at the local level and maximising the capacity and capabilities of local suppliers to help our partners achieve their clean energy goals. We look forward to working with CPIA to help us continue to identify potential local suppliers and subcontractors to partner with to deliver energy security to the Czech Republic.”

The trilateral agreement between Bechtel, Westinghouse and CPIA marks a significant stride towards enhancing nuclear capabilities in the Czech Republic. The collaboration not only underscores the importance of local involvement but also sets the stage for clean energy advancements that will resonate for generations.

Westinghouse: Founded in the 19th century with a 21st century mindset

As described by Westinghouse, its founder George Westinghouse was a “spunky teenager with a head full of ideas” who seized opportunity after opportunity to make technology better, faster and more efficient. The founder of a staggering 60 ventures that survived him, one of those, Westinghouse Electric Company, has grown exponentially since it was established in 1886. 

George Westinghouse. Credit: Westinghouse Electric Company

As a company pouncing at the start of the age of steam, one of its landmark achievements came in 1957, when Westinghouse supplied the world’s first commercial pressurised water reactor. Today, Westinghouse and its technologies form the basis for around half the world’s 430 nuclear power reactors, which total a net installed capacity of 370,543MWe.

With Westinghouse’s founder a pioneer of the electricity industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the company continues to work with that mindset to this day. Now, it is  argued to be an equally prominent player in the modern global energy industry, walking in its founder's footsteps.

Westinghouse was acquired by Brookfield Renewable Partners and Cameco in 2023, owning 51% and 49% respectively. 

“The sustained and positive momentum for nuclear energy has been undeniable as countries and companies around the world strive to meet their net-zero commitments and growing energy needs through clean and secure supply,” said Tim Gitzel, President and CEO of Cameco at the time of the acquisition.

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