Sunday, September 25, 2022

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Polish government amends law to speed up nuclear investments

The Polish government adopted a draft act amending the rules for the preparation and implementation of investments in nuclear power to shorten the time of implementation.

Poland announced last September that it plans to add six large pressurised water reactors with a combined installed capacity of 6-9 gigawatts (GW) by 2040 to reduce its historic heavy reliance on coal.

Poland will start building its first nuclear power plant in 2026, with a capacity of 1-1.6 GW. The first block of the facility is expected to come online by 2033. Subsequent units will be added every 2-3 years. The first units are to be built in Lubiatowo and Zarnowiec in Pomerania, Northern Poland.

The amendment of the law aims to facilitate the preparation and implementation of the investment. For instance, the catalogue of accompanying investments will be extended, in particular, investments necessary to conduct environmental and site research for the construction of a nuclear power plant and associated infrastructure.

The government aims to ensure greater stability of the investment process. The decision on selecting the location of the investment and the permit to access the property will also be extended for measurements, tests or other work necessary for the preparation of the environmental impact report of the project.

Public administration bodies, upon a justified investor’s request, will provide information and data in connection with the performance of tasks related to nuclear power facilities and associated investments free of charge.

The government will also introduce the possibility of the temporary operation of a nuclear facility after obtaining a commissioning license. The new rules are expected to enter into force by the end of the year.

Poland produces around 70 per cent of its electricity from coal. As the country plans to move away from its coal dependence and build a more diversified energy portfolio, nuclear power can be a viable alternative to lower-emission sources of power.

The Polish government has held talks with several potential partners for the investment, with the expectation that a foreign partner would hold a significant stake as well as supplying the reactor technology.

In January, US company Westinghouse signed a memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with ten Polish companies covering cooperation on the potential deployment of six AP1000 plants for the Polish Nuclear Power Plant program. In June, French power utility EDF signed cooperation agreements with five Polish firms as part of its efforts to become a strategic partner in the development of Poland’s first nuclear plants. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) has also submitted an offer for the construction of six APR-1400 reactors to Poland.

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