Nuclear energy is a coal alternative Poland needs: expert

Prof. Andrzej Strupczewski, the chairman of Poland’s Nuclear Safety Committee in an interview with PolandIN argues that nuclear power is the safest and most economic energy option for Poland.

Poland to build six nuclear reactors by 2040

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According to the Polish nuclear safety expert, Poland needs to avoid the mistake made by Germany with its “Energiewende” policy. That policy has resulted in Germany spending 25 billion Euro per year more on energy, and Germans paying twice as much for their electricity as do the French.

”If Poland followed Germany’s example, every four person family would have to pay an additional five thousand Polish zloty for their power”, points out Andrzej Strupczewski.

Requirement for economic development

Poland IN’s guest hopes that the Polish declared intention to build six nuclear power stations will come to fruition. He argues that Polish energy consumption per head is only half of that in Germany and that this will inevitably rise if Poland wants to catch up with western Europe. This means that more energy will be required, and since coal supplies are dwindling and the cost of CO2 emissions is rising from 3.6 Euro per tonne ten years ago to 29 Euro per tonne, now Poland must develop nuclear power.

Uranium and fuel for nuclear power stations are available from many sources. As many as 20 countries export uranium. The price of fuel is actually a minor part of the cost, accounting for only five percent of the total, points out Andrzej Strupczewski.

Renewables can only be an addition

Asked about whether renewables could provide the answer, the Chairman of Poland’s Nuclear Safety Committee is skeptical. “Renewables are beautiful, as long as we don’t have to rely on them”. Wind power and solar power in Poland cannot be relied to provide energy on a consistent basis, he argues.

Safety

Andrzej Strupczewski explained that the Chernobyl disaster was caused by secrecy and a faulty design of the reactor. He believes that the third generation of reactors is now entirely safe and that this technology is available from France, Britain and the USA.

In terms of disposing of waste, the nuclear safety expert informs that the “nuclear industry is the first energy industry that has taken full responsibility for waste and set up a ring-fenced fund for dealing with it.

He also points out that relative safety, along with access to water, are the major criteria for selecting the sites for nuclear power stations. The process of assessing the environmental, meteorological and seismic risks takes two years and is carried out by an independent body which oversees the process of site selection.

Local protests?

Andrzej Strupczewski believes that international experience shows that people living near the nuclear power plants are supportive of their existence. He gives the example of the nuclear research reactor in Świerk in Poland as an example of how the local population has no objections.

Click here to watch the full interview.

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