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$40B Deal With U.S. Companies Kickstarts Poland’s Nuclear Power Ambitions

Poland’s first nuclear power plant moved forward on Wednesday with the signing of a deal between the Polish government and a consortium of U.S. companies including Westinghouse and Bechtel. 

The nuclear plant will be built in the Pomerania region near the Baltic Sea and is being billed as part of Poland’s effort to ditch fossil fuels. 

The agreement with Polish state-owned Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe (PEJ) will see $40 billion spent on two plants with three reactors each. The first of the three reactors is expected to go online in 2033, while the entire project is slated to be operational a decade after that, the Associated Press reports. 

The Polish government views nuclear energy as a key element of “clean energy”, while also serving as a way of reducing dependence on Russian energy supplies. 

“I want to make a very strong appeal: we cannot afford to reject nuclear energy,” Anna ?ukaszewska-Trzeciakowska, Poland’s secretary of state for strategic energy infrastructure, appealed to the Energy Day 2023 conference earlier this month. 

“Without nuclear energy, large scale and SMR [small modular reactors], we will not be able to achieve our climate ambitions and assure our energy security,” she added. 

Poland is not alone in Europe on the nuclear energy front, which has been a divisive issue for the European Union.

France is also pro-nuclear, while Germany and Spain reject the idea that nuclear energy should be considered “renewable”. Pro-nuclear EU member states are aiming to hit 150 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity in the bloc’s electricity mix by 2050. 

In 13 of the EU’s 27 member states there are 103 reactors. Approximately 25% of the EU’s energy is nuclear, with more than half of that produced in France, according to Euronews. Only Italy and Lithuania have completed a total phase-out of nuclear power to date. 

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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