Will a nuclear power plant be built near Bełchatów? This proposal is not new, but the government can actually decide on it – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
Empty declarations for now
Minister of Energy Krzysztof Tchórzewski announced on December 13 that his ministry is considering the location of a nuclear power plant near Bełchatów, in order to replace a lignite power plant, which is to end operation in 2036, unless a new mine is created, which may be subject to ecological reservations. – By 2030, hard coal consumption in Poland will not change practically. In the perspective of 2040, it will be several tons lower. This is good considering the volume of imports – said the minister during the session of the Sejm Energy and Treasury Committee quoted by BiznesAlert.pl.
Minister of entrepreneurship and technology Jadwiga Emilewicz informed that the location of the nuclear power plant will result from the consultation of the Polish Energy Policy until 2040, i.e. the so-called energy strategy, which will end on January 15, 2019. – I remind you that we have an energy policy strategy in the discussion. This discussion is due to end by January 15. I think that one of the effects, the conclusions of the discussion, should be at least (location – PAP). The fact that the nuclear power plant is in the strategy, we already know. I think that one of the elements of the conclusion is also the choice of location. Because, as far as I know, as Minister Tchórzewski said, he had two locations in the end, where he was to make a final decision – said the minister quoted by the Polish Press Agency. The agency reminds that according to the project, in 2033 the first nuclear unit with a power of 1-1,5 GW would be launched in Poland. The next ones would be put into use every two years until 2043, because the project says even six blocks with a total capacity of 6-9 GW. The financing model is still unknown.
Concurrence of data
However, the localization procedure for two places in the Pomeranian Province – Żarnowiec and Lubiatowo-Kopalino is already under way. The choice will be made by the investor, which is currently PGE EJ1. Environmental research to be its basis started in spring 2017 and will last two years. In order to reach for a new location near Bełchatów, it would be necessary to carry out further research that would allow theoretically in two years, ie at the turn of 2020 and 21, to choose the Bełchatów option. If we add the next 10 years needed for environmental reports, decisions, permits, construction, commissioning and commissioning of a nuclear power plant, it turns out that the facility near Bełchatów could be built around 2030-32. If the technology tender lasted longer, perhaps in 2033. This is the date of construction of the first nuclear block and is included in the energy strategy project, so the final form may also depend on competition, as Minister Emilewicz says.
In the past, I wrote that the location of Bełchatów was taken into account by the president of Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) Krzysztof Kilian. The developed transmission infrastructure and the professional staff in the local location would allow the region to switch from coal to nuclear power and thus implement the postulate of energy transformation without negative social consequences. According to my information, the diagnosis from 2011-12 enabled PGE GiEK to establish that a block of up to 1,5 GW could be created under Bełchatów due to the limited access to cooling water, which is proposed as the first in the energy strategy. The challenge would be the fact that a nuclear power plant located in the north would supplement the power shortages in that part of the country. Perhaps, however, would this offshore be planned by the Polish Energy Group and other investors? The concurrence of data on the Bełchatów project with the guidelines of the energy strategy project gives grounds for treating the words of Minister Tchórzewski seriously.
We’ll find out after Christmas
All the discussions about the nuclear power plant are cut by the fact that the government still does not know whether it wants to implement it, and thus has not presented a financial model that would make sure that the investment is banking. After January 15, we are to know the energy strategy in its final shape. Perhaps we will also find out how much truth is in the words of ministers about the nuclear power station near Bełchatów.