Poland, USA underscore commitment to new nuclear projects

02 March 2020

Poland will soon start the tender process for developers interested in participating in its first nuclear power plant project, Piotr Naimski, government commissioner for strategic energy infrastructure, said following the third US-Poland Strategic Dialogue on Energy held in Washington DC last week. Poland's Climate Minister Michał Kurtyka, who was also at the meeting, has commented on the country's pro-nuclear policy as a way to reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants.

Brouillette (second on the left), Naimski (opposite Brouillette) and Kurtyka (on Naimski's left) at the third US-Poland Strategic Dialogue on Energy last week (Image: @KurtykaMichal)

Naimski said Poland is "getting closer to practical solutions" in the construction of a nuclear power plant in the country and noted that there are US companies keen to cooperate with Warsaw on this.

"We will have six to nine gigawatts in the nuclear sector by 2040 and 2045; this decision has already been made. We will invite and select partners for this programme soon," Naimski said, according to various reports, including by Polish news agency The First News. Poland's nuclear power programme will involve "large reactors, those with a capacity of 1000 megawatts and more, and there will be minimum of six of them", Naimski said, adding that the units will be built in three phases over 20 years. "This is a big programme, but when it is completed Poland will have 20%, or little more than 20% of stable and safe energy produced in nuclear power plants for the next 60 years."

Poland's draft Energy Policy until 2040 provides for the currently coal-dependent country's adoption of nuclear power, with the target of 20 TWh of electricity from nuclear energy by 2035. Kurtyka noted that this is almost twice as much electricity than would be generated from solar power, Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, reported on 28 February. He tweeted that the meeting in Washington had been "fruitful".

Commissioning of the first reactor, with a capacity of 1000-1500 MW, is planned for 2033, he said, with another five such units commissioned at intervals of 2-3 years. Construction of the first plant is to be managed by PGE EJ 1, the nuclear subsidiary of Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. Sites for the new units that are under consideration include the coastal areas of Kopalino and Żarnowiec, and the central Poland region around Bełchatów.

The meeting was held at the US Department of Energy's headquarters on 26-27 February with US Energy Minister Dan Brouillette. The DOE said Brouillette had "noted the US nuclear industry's continued interest in providing clean, reliable, and resilient nuclear energy to Poland as a means to strengthen their energy security".

In June last year, Naimski and Brouillette's predecessor, Rick Perry, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the civil use of nuclear energy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News