Polen is about to make a concrete decision about the construction of his first nuclear power plant. After a meeting with US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm in Washington on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Jacek Sasin said there was a “very good chance” that the US company Westinghouse would get the job.
“We are very close to naming the partner,” said Sasin, who traveled to Washington with Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskva. “The energy crisis that has hit us means that we have to make quick decisions in shaping our energy security, based on completely new energy sources.” Minister Moskva said the decision would be made later this year. It was also discussed with Granholm that Poland, in cooperation with America, should become a nuclear power hub.
Warsaw hopes to become a center for training and development in this branch and to become a “nuclear center for the whole of East-Central Europe,” Moskva said. The Americans have also signaled their support for this concept, added Sasin. They are also interested in building a planned second nuclear power plant in Poland after the first.
A reactor west of Gdansk?
A site west of Gdańsk and an AP1000 pressurized water reactor are under discussion. As the ministers have now confirmed, the work is proceeding in accordance with the strategy paper “Poland’s energy policy up to 2040” presented in February. According to this, the construction of the first reactor block should start by 2026 at the latest, which should go on line in 2033. Five more reactor blocks are to follow by 2043. The two nuclear power plants, each with three blocks, are intended to help Poland phase out coal – today the country generates almost 80 percent of its energy from hard coal and lignite. In total, the two power plants will produce six to nine gigawatts of electricity.
Additional private initiatives, which would include small and medium-sized reactors, could increase the potential up to 15 gigawatts. US Ambassador to Warsaw Mark Brzezinski, while visiting soldiers from both countries at a base with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday, said the US offer will “allow Poland to make the transition to clean energy and cooperation between our countries for more centuries.”
This means that two competitors, the French company EDF and the South Korean company KHNP, both of which had also submitted bids, are initially at a disadvantage. At the end of August, Morawiecki said before a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron that “France is a natural partner when it comes to nuclear power plant issues.” The media are now speculating as to whether the EU Commission will block nuclear power plant construction in Poland, citing a lack of transparency in the selection process, or whether Poland could award the two contracts to two different bidders. “Solidarity in the political-economic club” (i.e. the EU) requires cooperation with Paris, a specialist portal suggested.
The newspaper “Rzeczpospolita” reported at the weekend that there were “signals” for a blockade by the commission. “Should such a dispute break out, we would be faced with the question of the limits of our sovereignty,” it said, referring to the current geopolitical situation. Fresh conflicts with Brussels could make Poland feel that closer integration with the European Union seems like a bad option, the pro-EU daily warned.
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