Poland to go nuclear


There was a real risk of that happening between 1945 and 1989 and not in a good way, but in the 21st century it’s all “atoms for peace”:

After at least a decade of preparations, coal-reliant Poland may be one step away from embarking on its biggest power project ever, with talks on securing the $60 billion in financing entering the final stretch.

The country is seeking a foreign investor for a 49% stake in the company that will be responsible for building and operating six reactors, Piotr Naimski, a top government official in charge of strategic energy infrastructure, said on Monday…

Naimski expects the financing to be agreed next year for the first reactor to be completed in 2033. Poland is aiming to generate as much as 9 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2043 to slash emissions and meet the European Union’s climate goals.

While countries like Germany and Japan are abandoning nuclear (Germany also coal), Poland is ready to embrace the world’s best and most efficient alternative to fossil fuels. Coal, mostly from the Silesia (Slask) region of south-western Poland, has been the staple of power generation and exports for generations now, but as it is increasingly falling out of vogue (at least in some parts of the world like Europe; Asia not so much), even the conservative-populist government feels the need to do its bit for climate – possibly lest Greta Thunberg swims across the Baltic Sea to castigate the Poles for their dirty, sinful emissions.

Considering its importance in national economy, coal will continue to play a role in the Polish energy mix, albeit a diminishing one:poland-energy

The renewables bit will be the most interesting one in many ways. Poland has no scope for large scale hydro or thermal projects, and it’s neither exceptionally sunny nor windy. Currently, many of Poland’s EU neighbours are inflating their renewables generation by burning wood, a lot of it imported from North America. Sure it’s renewable but it ain’t no green and clean. Gas, the cleanest of fossil fuels, will be another big winner – as will be the energy independence from Russia, since Poland is increasingly working to import its gas from the United States and other countries, which unlike Putinland, won’t hold an energy gun to Poland’s head as potential future blackmail.

Here’s to nuclear Poland!