Climate Policy Energy Environment Nuclear 18 March, 2024 7:35 am   

Błażowski: EKO-Unia’s conference proves the opponents of nuclear power in Poland are not giving up


EKO-Unia’s activists are warning that the nuclear power plant in Pomerania poses a threat to the Baltic Sea and oppose this project. Adam Błażowski argues with these claims and asks if the organization is against the atom as such.

Is the “no” just in terms of the variant or nuclear power in general?

EKO-Unia held a press meeting where it presented the opinions of two scientists on the impact of the nuclear power plant in Pomerania on the water temperature in the Baltic Sea. “EKO-Unia is a participant in the environmental proceedings concerning the location of the nuclear power plant in Choczewo. We have filed a formal appeal regarding the procedure on the location of the power plant, alleging its brevity. Once can see the political haste in making decisions about environmental conditions. We have added evidence to this proposal, i.e. expert opinions, so that officials are aware of the risks posed by this project from the perspective of the Baltic Sea, residents and touris,” said Radosław Gawlik, president of the EKO-Unia Ecological Association. “The report and the environmental decision barely skimmed this issue. And it is very important and underappreciated. It can permanently affect the deterioration of the Baltic ecosystem, which is already very sensitive to various human pressures. In combination with the inevitable warming of the sea due to climate  change, it is highly likely to contribute, at a minimum, to the increase  of oxygen-deprived, lifeless zones on the seafloor. Closing the EA cooling circuit can reduce these risks. It is not clear to me why they are trying to save money on this element of the power plant,”  said Jacek Piskozub, professor at the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The arguments of EKO-Unia have already been discussed in the public debate.’a interlocutor does not agree with them. “This briefing should be interpreted as part of a campaign by anti-nuclear organizations against the construction of nuclear energy. Radosław Gawlik himself announced today that this is only the first part of a series of meetings aimed at blocking this project,” points out Adam Błażowski from FOTA4CLIMATE. “We should ask what is the position of the EKO-Unia itself on the topic discussed today. The variants of the selected investment (without chimney coolers, with an open cooling circuit) were widely commented on at the briefing. Would EKO-Unia support this investment if another option was chosen? Or is EKO-Unia against this investment, regardless of the options discussed by the invited guests?,”  Błażowski asked in a conversation with

The expert and publicist also commented on the arguments presented at the EKO-Unia event on March 14. “It is not true that the open-circuit cooling option was chosen by the investor <because it was cheaper>. The final option is chosen by the General Directorate of Environmental Protection, the investor has only the right to choose the preferred option,” emphasizes our interlocutor. “One can discuss many types of environmental impacts associated with the construction of power plants. However, in order to include them in the report, it must be shown that they are significant. Has EKO-Unia demonstrated this in the public consultation process?,” he asks.

“Finally we should ask why it is only today, after the environmental decision that EKO-Unia was consulted on as a social representative, the head of that organization Radosław Gawlik is raising issues related to the cooling system? The investment report has been available since at least October 2022, i.e. six months before the consultations. Were these remarks made during the consultation process? Are they part of EKO Unia’s complaint against the environmental decision?,”  Błażowski asks.

“In my view that entire briefing was missing a broad view of the context of the energy transition,” says the representative of FOTA4CLIMATE. “They were talking about the increase in the temperature of the Baltic Sea in connection with climate change. Nuclear power is a necessary element (according to the Polish Academy of Sciences) of the Polish transformation. Can we afford to delay or abandon this technological option for many years? Do we have time for this? How much will the Baltic sea temperature rise and cyanobacteria bloom if we do not effectively decarbonize our economy? What is missing here is the treatment of a nuclear power plant as an important component in preventing the worst-case scenarios of the devastation of the biosphere caused by global warming,” he explains.

EKO-Unia against the atom since the Round Table talks

Radosław Gawlik has been an avowed opponent of nuclear energy, he was a Solidarity (trade union – ed.) activist taking part in the Round Table discussions opposing the historic Żarnowiec power plant project (Poland’s first NPP project that later failed – ed.). “The civil society community, Solidarity and independent scientists pointed to the disadvantages of nuclear energy in the context of breakdowns, the problem of nuclear waste and opposition to planned landfills, e.g. in Międzyrzecze, very high cost and Soviet technology. At the turn of the 1980s – 90s  the unsolvable (as it turns out to this day) problem of highly radioactive nuclear waste was one of the most important problems in social discussion, including in the protests after Chernobyl of the Ruch Wolność i Pokój opposition movement,” said Radosław Gawlik in an interview with the periodical Dzikie Życie.

During the Round Table talks, the movement proposed coal and gas-fired power generation instead of the atom. Interestingly, the government side at that time lobbied for the atom in order to prevent the “ecological disaster associated with the burning of coal.” EKO-Unia has since carried out a number of protests against the atom in Pomerania, including in front of the Polish Sejm. After stopping the construction of the nuclear power plant in Żarnowiec, the Polish government completed the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Opole.

The minutes of the Round Table talks contain critical opinions of Radoslaw Gawlik about the atom. “Ceasing funding for nuclear energy would, for economic reasons, enable  the acceleration of industrial restructuring, reducing its energy  intensity, modernizing conventional energy, rationalizing fuel and  energy consumption, and equipping conventional power plants with  necessary environmental protection devices,” Gawlik said back then. “The opposition-Solidarity party demands the withdrawal from the construction of nuclear power plants (Żarnowiec, Klempicz and the proposed third nuclear power plant) until in – depth economic analyses are carried out,” he continued.

Compiled by Wojciech Jakóbik