Second large Polish nuclear plant gets approval

27 November 2023

Poland's Ministry of Climate and Environment has issued a decision-in-principle for the country's second large nuclear power plant. Two South Korean-supplied APR1400 reactors are planned in the Patnów-Konin region.

A plant comprising two APR1400 reactors (Image: KHNP)

PGE PAK Energia Jądrowa submitted an application for the plant to the ministry in August this year. The application included a description of project characteristics, indicating the maximum installed capacity, the planned operating period and details of the APR1400 technology to be used in the construction of the plant. According to the application, the two units will generate 22 TWh of electricity annually, which corresponds to 12% of the current electricity demand in Poland.

PGE PAK Energia Jądrowa is a 50/50 joint venture special purpose vehicle formed in April by Polish companies ZE PAK and Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) to implement the project.

The ministry has now issued a decision-in-principle, a formal confirmation that the company's investment project is in line with the public interest and the policies pursued by the state, including energy policy.

The decision-in-principle is the first decision in the process of administrative permits for investments in nuclear power facilities in Poland that an investor may apply for. Obtaining it entitles ZE PAK and PGE to apply for a number of further administrative arrangements, such as a siting decision or construction licence.

On 31 October last year, Poland's Ministry of State Assets, South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, ZE PAK and PGE, and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) signed a letter of intent to develop plans for a nuclear power plant in Pątnów.

"The implementation of the project that PGE PAK Energia Jądrowa wants to implement together with the Korean side in Patnów fits perfectly into the government's plans in this regard," said Jacek Sasin, Minister of State Assets. "The issuance of a basic decision for this project confirms this. So I hope that nothing will stop or prevent the further implementation of this project."

"The fundamental decision is crucial for the construction of a nuclear power plant and allows us to proceed to the next stages of the investment," said PGE President Wojciech Dąbrowski. "We received it less than 13 months after signing the letter of intent. In the case of such a large investment, this is a very good result. It is also proof of the commitment and good cooperation of all partners in the project and confirmation that the ambitious plan to launch the first power unit by 2035 is very realistic. The power plant will provide consumers with cheap and clean energy, and Poland, together with renewable energy sources, will provide security and energy independence."

"I am glad that thanks to obtaining the basic decision, we will be able to continue work on the project to build a nuclear power plant in Konin/Patnów," added Zygmunt Solorz, main shareholder of ZE PAK and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of PEJ. "This investment is an opportunity for Poland, the region and, above all, for us Poles - because nuclear energy is stable, clean and cheap energy for Polish families and companies for the next several dozen years."

In November 2022, the Polish government announced the first plant, with a capacity of 3750 MWe, would be built in Pomerania using AP1000 technology from the US company Westinghouse. An agreement setting a plan for the delivery of the plant was signed in May by Westinghouse, Bechtel and PEJ. A decision-in-principle for that project was issued in July.

A decision-in-principle has also been issued for copper and silver producer KGHM Polska Miedź SA's plan to construct a NuScale VOYGR modular nuclear power plant with a capacity of 462 MWe consisting of six modules, each with a capacity of 77 MWe.

The latest developments in Poland come amid speculation about who is going to form the next government, following elections last month.Opposition leader Donald Tusk looks the most likely to be able to form a coalition with enough seats to form a government. It is not yet clear what impact any change of government would have on the country's plans for a rapid adoption of nuclear energy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News