Coal, Nuclear

France, Poland agree to nuclear cooperation

9 November 2009 – France and Poland have signed a joint declaration on energy, environment and climate that calls for France to assist Poland in the construction of nuclear power plants.

France has agreed to provide technical assistance to state-owned utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA PGE in bringing a nuclear power plant into operation by 2020, as mandated by the government in its energy policy.

Poland has the largest reserves of coal in the EU (14bn tonnes), and some 93 per cent of its electricity is generated by coal fired plants. Poland’s electricity consumption is forecast to grow by 90 per cent to 2025, but the EU has placed stringent restrictions on CO2 emissions.

The first Polish nuclear power plant is slated to be built between January 2016 and December 2020. This plan is contemporary with one in neighbouring Kaliningrad for 2300 MW of new nuclear as well as one in Lithuania for a 3400 MW replacement for Ignalina in which Poland has a stake.

A roadmap for nuclear energy has been unveiled by the Polish government in August, setting out the steps it will take with the aim of generating nuclear power before 2021.

Locations for the power plant are to be identified between 2011 and the end of 2014, with a final decision taken towards the end of the period. PGE has previously said it would like to build two nuclear power plants, each with a capacity of 3000 MW – two or three large reactors each.

One potential site would be the northern town of Zarnowiec, where four Russian VVER-440 pressurized water reactors began construction only to be cancelled in 1990.