Nuclear included in Poland's draft energy policy

26 November 2018

Poland's first nuclear power plant will be in operation by 2033, according to a draft energy policy document released for public consultation by the Ministry of Energy. The document envisages 6-9 GWe of nuclear capacity in operation by 2043, accounting for about 10% of Poland's electricity generation.

The Ministry of Energy releasing the draft energy policy document (Image: Polish Ministry of Energy)

The draft document - titled Polish Energy Policy until 2040 (PEP2040) - was released by the Ministry of Energy on 23 November.

The ministry said the document is a "response to the most important challenges facing Polish energy in the coming decades and sets directions for the development of the energy sector, including tasks necessary for implementation in the short term".

The policy aims to reduce coal's share of Poland's energy mix from 80% currently to 30% by 2040. According to the plan, renewable energy sources will account for 21% of its energy by 2030.

"In order to reduce emissions from the energy sector, modernisation and/or withdrawal of low efficiency generating units and gradual replacement of them with higher efficiency capacities (also cogeneration) is required," the policy document says. "The main tool for emission reduction will be the implementation of nuclear power."

"Nuclear power plants ensure stable energy production with zero emissions of air pollutants," it adds, "At the same time, it is possible to diversify the energy generation structure at a reasonable cost - high capital expenditures are compensated by a low variable production cost."

According to a timetable included in the document, a financing model for a nuclear power project will need to be formulated by the end of this year, while changes to Poland's legislation would need to be made next year. The selection of the location for the first plant would be made in 2020, while the selection of the technology and general contractor would take place the following year. A programme to develop the human resources necessary for a nuclear energy programme would begin in 2019.

The first plant - with a capacity of 1.0 to 1.5 GWe - would be completed by 2033. Up to six reactors, with a combined capacity of 6-9 GWe, would be put into operation by 2043.

Two possible sites in northern Poland are under consideration for the first reactors: Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Zarnowiec. Construction of a nuclear power plant began at Zarnowiec in the early 1980s, but that project was abandoned following the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine in 1986.

"The analyses show that public support for nuclear energy has been rebuilt," the document notes.

"We are completing the work which was crowned with the document of the Polish Energy Policy until 2040 along with forecasts of energy demand," Energy Minister Kryzstof Tchórzewski was quoted as saying by BiznesAlert. The two documents had been "long awaited", he said, and aim to help meet the economic aspirations of Polish people.

The public consultation on the document will run until 15 January. The ministry also said a strategic environmental impact assessment will be carried out once the consultation has been completed.

Speaking at the World Nuclear Spotlight Poland conference in Warsaw last week, Tchórzewski said: "We assume that demand for energy will increase by 20%, perhaps even 25%, so we will not be able to just upgrade our [existing] power plants. We will need to add more sources, and here the space for nuclear energy opens. We will therefore change our energy mix. We also need to cut emissions. We need to add emission-free energy sources."

He added, "We need conventional energy to support renewables, and here zero-emission nuclear energy is the option that guarantees to achieve the goals we set."

Speaking at the same event, Josef Sobolewski, director of the Nuclear Energy Department at the Polish Ministry of Energy, noted the country's total generating capacity was 43,421 MWe at the end of 2017, almost half of which was from coal-fired power plants. Poland's electricity consumption stood at 168,139 TWh in 2017.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News