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Monday, December 1, 2008

Poland aims for nuclear power plant by 2020: PM

Coal-dependent Poland could build a nuclear power station on its territory by 2020, in a drive to switch to a cheap and clean energy source, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Monday.

"Poland wants to make a rapid decision on building a nuclear power plant," Tusk said on the sidelines of a UN climate conference in the western city of Poznan.

The "ambitious and absolutely realistic" goal could be achieved by 2020, he said, adding: "Nuclear energy really is cheap and clean."

Unlike several east European countries that have joined the European Union since 2004, Poland does not have a nuclear power station. A communist-era project was mothballed in the 1980s.

Poland has already chosen a nuclear option off its territory, however, by signing on to a four-nation project to build a power plant in neighbouring Lithuania.

The plan, which also involves Latvia and Estonia, is to replace a Soviet-era nuclear plant in Lithuania which that country pledged to close by 2010 as a condition for joining the EU.

Poland currently derives 94 percent of its energy from coal-fired power plants.

Each year Poland chokes out almost twice the EU average in carbon dioxide, by far the main culprit among the greenhouses gases that contribute to global warming.

But with more than a century's worth of reserves, experts predict coal will remain Poland's dominant energy source for years.

Poland has no other fossil fuels to speak of and lacks the necessary conditions to take a large-scale jump into renewable energy sources such as wind farms or hydro-electric plants, officials say.

(Source: SpaceDaily)

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