Germany concerned about Poland’s nuclear energy plans – by Monika Sieradzka (February 17, 2021)

Poland is working towards reducing its dependence on coal and forging ahead with plans to start producing nuclear energy. Its Polityka Energetczna Polski (PEP) strategy, which the government approved earlier this month and is set to begin in 2026, includes the construction of six reactors in two locations. According to the plan, the first reactor will begin operation in 2033 and all six should be up and running by 2043.

The EU member has to find new sources of energy in order to meet the bloc’s climate, energy and environmental targets. Poland currently depends on coal for 70% of its energy and is thus one of the most polluting EU states.

But Poland’s energy transition is not driven by external pressure alone. Brown coal mining in central Poland, which currently supplies 20% of the country’s energy, is set to be phased out by 2035.

There will also be a shortage of natural gas after an agreement with Russia expires at the end of next year. Russian gas currently covers 5% of Poland’s energy needs. But because of its rising cost and political tensions with Moscow, Warsaw does not want to extend the agreement.

A seemingly perfect solution

Nuclear reactors are considered by many to be the perfect solution. Plans to develop nuclear energy go back to the 1970s and construction had begun on two reactors of Soviet design in Zarnowiec, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Gdansk, but was stopped after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

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