Poland to seek EU state aid approval for nuclear project

23 October 2020

Poland will ask the European Commission to approve state aid for the construction of what will be the country's first nuclear power plants, Secretary of State for Strategic Energy Infrastructure Piotr Naimski told reporters in Warsaw yesterday, according to Reuters. "It is impossible these days to build a nuclear power plant without state support," Naimski said.

Piotr Naimski signing the Poland-USA agreement yesterday (Image: https://naimski.pl/)

Earlier this week, Poland and the USA announced a 30-year intergovernmental agreement to cooperate on the development of Poland's civil nuclear power programme. US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette signed the agreement on 19 October and Naimski said he signed it yesterday. Poland aims to build six new nuclear power units by 2040 as the country transitions to a clean energy economy.

In a statement yesterday Naimski said that, within 18 months, leading US companies in the civil nuclear energy sector will carry out preparatory and design work on the construction of nuclear power plants in Poland, which is "one of the main provisions of the Polish-American agreement". Westinghouse, Bechtel and Southern Company will participate in the first stage of the preparation of a design report. In parallel with, and in addition to, this preparatory work, representatives of both governments, together with US financial institutions, will prepare proposals for the financing structure of the Polish nuclear energy programme.

"All work will be coordinated by a joint Polish-American Steering Committee," Naimski said. "Representatives of both governments, but also of financial agencies and institutions, and experts with experience in the implementation of strategic investments in the energy sector will participate in its work over the coming months. The Committee will prepare a final conceptual and executive report, which will form the basis for the Polish government to decide on the choice of technology and a strategic partner in the implementation of the 20-year programme for the construction of nuclear power plants in Poland."

"From a multi-annual perspective," he said the agreement defines "the whole spectrum" of cooperation between the two countries, which includes: regulation, research and training; development of supply chains; campaigns to raise public awareness of civil nuclear energy; and, cooperation on projects in the nuclear energy sector elsewhere in Europe.

"The agreement concluded is part of preparations for the implementation of an updated version of the Polish Nuclear Energy Programme adopted by the Polish Government on 2 October 2020," he said.

Poland plans to build its first nuclear power plant by 2033, but has not yet worked out a financing scheme, Naimki told reporters yesterday.

The agreement would see Poland buying USD18 billion in nuclear technology from US companies, but the minister said the financial details of the new plant project were not part of the agreement, and construction costs and funding were still subject to negotiations, according to Reuters.

Poland is the only EU member state that has not set a target to be carbon neutral and coal currently accounts for three-quarters of its electricity generation.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News