Poland outlines nuclear roadmap

POLAND - The Polish government has issued a roadmap showing how the country intends to start generating nuclear power before 2021. The four-stage roadmap outlines how the government aims to have the first plant constructed by 2020.

The plan comes as part of the government's intentions to reduce the country's reliance on coal-fired power plants, which currently produce 93% of the nation's electricity. This roadmap will also go a long way in helping the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with European Union targets of 20% by 2020. Poland scrapped its first nuclear power plans after the Chernobyl disaster, which occurred more than 20 years ago.

Minister of the Economy Waldemar Pawlak said: "The plan for Polish nuclear energy and the regulation system should be developed by 2010, and investors should prepare pre-investment analyses and the prospects of nuclear energy development. The contract for the construction of the nuclear plant should be signed after a technology has been selected.

The technical project should be developed in 2014 and 2015, and the plant is to be constructed between 2016 and 2020."

A nuclear energy plan is expected to be approved by the Polish government by the end of 2010, by which time the legal framework will be in place to regulate the construction and operation of a nuclear plant and the necessary electricity grid upgrades. The country will also start to develop training programs and set up nuclear energy research facilities and institutions under the control of the forthcoming National Atomic Energy Agency.

National energy company Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA has previously announced intentions to build two 3,000-megawatt nuclear power plants in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

Poland began construction of its first nuclear operation in the mid-1980s in the northern town of Zarnowiec using four Russian VVER-440 pressurized water reactors. However, following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the Polish government put its nuclear ambitions on ice for more than two decades.

Poland is not alone in re-evaluating nuclear power. Italian electricity company Enel SpA and French giant Electricite de France SA recently formed a 50:50 joint venture company to look into building up to four advanced third-generation European Pressurized Reactors. Nuclear power was banned in Italy by public referendum 20 years ago after the Chernobyl accident.


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