Minister: clock ticking for nuclear development in Poland

Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski.

Building a nuclear power station is a matter of credibility with the European Commission, the Polish Energy Minister has said.

Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski said at the 6th National Energy Summit held on Monday in Gdańsk, northern Poland, that opinions on nuclear energy are “still divided”, in Poland.

He added, however, that the 2016 Paris Agreement with the European Commission, is written in such a way that, if “we do not move in the direction of nuclear energy, we will have nothing.”

Asked when a decision could be expected on starting construction of a nuclear power station, Minister Tchórzewski replied: “This year or never”.

He added that Poland has obliged itself to reduce its average carbon dioxide emission to 550 g/kWh after 2040.

“We cannot achieve this result without a nuclear energy programme,” Minister Tchórzewski explained, adding that he hopes to rely on Polish capital to build a nuclear plant.

The minister also said that there is a place for renewable energy sources in the Polish energy system.

Poland still relies heavily on domestic coal deposits for its heat and energy production. The government has come under fire in the past for its dependence on coal, but officials say that the country’s geography makes it hard to implement other, renewable sources of energy.

The International Energy Agency, IEA, wrote that despite Poland’s heavy reliance on coal, “its carbon intensity fell by seven percent in the 2004-2014 period as a result of more electricity production from renewable energy sources (mainly biofuels and wind power).”

It adds that member countries “in total reduced the power sector carbon intensity by 13 percent in 2004-2014, and emit 36 percent less CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh) than Poland. This implies significant room for improvements in Poland.”