Poland delays nuclear plant schedule

Friday, August 13, 2010

Poland will commission its first nuclear power plant in 2022, two years after the original schedule, Hanna Trojanowska, the government's nuclear energy adviser, said Thursday.

"In effect, in the verified schedule 2022 appears as the date for the start-up of the first unit," Trojanowska told the state news agency PAP.

Trojanowska has always maintained that the original 2020 deadline was highly ambitious.

The revised schedule is contained in the government's nuclear program project. The project, which includes the construction of two nuclear reactors, each with installed capacity of 3 GW, was accepted by the economy ministry Thursday. The document will now be scrutinized by other ministries before it is sent to the government for approval.

Poland's largest power company, Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), has recently signed a number of non-exclusive cooperation agreements with Westinghouse Electric, GE Hitachi and France's EdF. PGE will create a consortium, in which it will take a 51% stake, to construct the reactors. The first plant was originally scheduled to be commissioned in 2020 and the second in 2023.

Poland fast-tracked the creation of a nuclear power sector in January last year during the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute. The government plans to meet 15% of its energy needs from nuclear power by 2030. Currently, the country produces close to 95% of its power from coal or lignite. In the early 1990s Poland abandoned plans to construct a nuclear reactor in Zarnowiec, northern Poland, following protests from the local community.

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