Poland wants nuclear home and abroad

16 January 2009

Polish leaders want two nuclear power plants - and a stake in a third in Lithuania as part of a plan to increase energy security.


The announcement of priorities was made yesterday by prime minister Donald Tusk. As well as increasing the production of gas and the extension of storage facilities for gas, oil and other fuels, two nuclear power plants should be constructed in the country, said Tusk. The first should begin operation by 2020, and the firm responsible to deliver that will be Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE).


Donald Tusk 15 Januray 2009

Donald Tusk


The country has major infrastructure projects on its books to connect better with wider European grids. A gas connector between Poland and Germany is to be expended to carry 2 billion cubic metres per day instead of the current 0.9 billion, and an 'energy bridge' is wanted to link Poland to the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.


Tusk met with the prime minister of Lithuania, Andrius Kubilius, one day before his nuclear announcement and reiterated Poland's desire for involvement in the project to replace the final Ignalina reactor which is set for shutdown at the end of this year under Lithuania's EU accession agreement. Tusk told Kubilius that his country was 'determined to contribute to the projects success', but only if it would be profitable for Poland.


A project company has been established to build a new nuclear power plant called Visaginas near to Ignalina, but Polish interests are only to be offered 16.3% - an equal shares to Latvian and Estonian firms. A Lithuanian state firm will always hold 51% under current plans.


The Polish announcement comes immediately after the latest episode in the Gas War between Ukraine and Russia that resulted in a large portion of European supply being cut off and some countries losing all supply.