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Monday, April 14, 2008

Poland: A Nuclear Nation?

The Ministry of Economy of Poland has unveiled a project to construct a nuclear power plant within the next 12-15 years

Experts agree that Poland's dependence on coal will have to end sooner or later, but some question the value of spending billions of euro on what could be a white-elephant project. Meanwhile, a 24-hour blackout in Szczecin has highlighted the need for investment not only in Poland's energy future, but its present as well. Zbigniew Kamieński, the head of the Energy Department at the Ministry of Economy, announced last week that Poland was planning to build its own nuclear energy plant. The government has started work on a new energy strategy and it is likely that the nuclear plant will be one of the strategy's key points.

The Ministry of Economy foresees that Poland's nuclear plant could be built within 12-15 years. According to the ministry's initial plans, energy from the plant would come online between 2021-2025. Details of the project, along with the government's total energy strategy, should be ready at the end of June 2008. After consultations with the relevant organizations, if the government accepts the policy document it will go to the Sejm.

No decision has been made yet about where the plant could be constructed. Several locations are under consideration though, including Żarnowiec in the Pomorskie voivodship, where construction of a previous nuclear reactor was attempted from 1982-1990. The project was not completed due to protests, mainly connected with fears of a nuclear disaster after the Chernobyl explosion.

"In the late 1990s, there was also a plan to build a nuclear plant in Silesia, where the largest demand for energy is. But to build a nuclear plant a large water basin is necessary. In Silesia this could be a problem," said Daria Kulczycka, an energy expert at business advocacy group PKPP Lewiatan.

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(Source: Warsaw Business Journal)

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