Finance deal agreed for Polish nuclear plant

Friday, October 25, 2013

Poland’s nuclear power ambitions have moved a step forward after four state companies agreed to team up to finance a 3,000-megawatt unit.

State utility PGE, which is coordinating the project, will sell three 10% stakes to utilities Tauron and Enea and to copper and silver producer KGHM. The total cost of the project is likely to be almost €10bn, according to government estimates.

The government is also putting in place the legal framework for its nuclear plans, three years since they were announced. The next major step will be a radioactive waste management plan, to be adopted next year, the economy ministry said.

Nuclear power can replace 6,000MW of power from coal by 2040, according to a recent government analysis of possible scenarios for Poland’s energy mix.

The first reactor is slated to come online in 2024. But it will be 2016 before a location is selected from the current shortlist of three - Gaski, Choczewo and Zarnowiec - all of them near the north coast.

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency praised Poland’s “significant progress” in developing the infrastructure for nuclear power. But grid enhancements are needed before the first reactor comes online, the agency warned.

And Poland’s 2011 atomic law may need to be revised, particularly the provisions for nuclear safety and liability, the mission report on Poland stated.

Poland is among a group of EU member states pushing for technology neutrality in the forthcoming climate and energy goals for 2030. This would allow nuclear to be supported alongside renewables, Poland told a recent EU consultation. Poland is also in favour of the EU permitting state aid for nuclear.

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