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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Construction of a nuclear power plant in Poland. Cement and concrete supplies are a big challenge

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The construction of a nuclear power plant and associated infrastructure will require 1 million cubic meters of concrete, and the annual production in the country is 20 million cubic meters, the Polish Association of Cement Producers reported. Preparing supplies of cement and concrete as well as logistics will be a big challenge, it said.

– The construction of a nuclear power plant is associated with a huge demand for concrete – said Zbigniew Pilch, director of the Association of Cement Producers. He added that currently in Poland we produce and use over 20 million cubic meters annually. concrete.

Huge challenge

Referring to analyzes prepared by the AGH University of Science and Technology Energy Center for the Cement Producers Association, Pilch said that the construction of the first nuclear power plant and the accompanying infrastructure will consume approximately 1 million cubic meters. concrete and will spread over several years. – Therefore, logistics and preparation of cement and concrete supplies will be a big challenge for domestic producers. But we will gladly take up this challenge, assured the director.

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He explained that concrete is the basic construction material of nuclear power plants. As he said, in such investments the so-called ordinary and heavy concrete, depending on the type of structure element. He added that heavy concrete is especially used in those elements of the nuclear reactor structure that are intended to protect against the penetration of ionizing radiation to the outside.

He also admitted that the technology of heavy concrete production is well known to domestic producers of ready-mix concrete. – It requires the use of appropriate aggregates, additives and a high technological regime – Pilch pointed out. He assured that cement and concrete producers in Poland are prepared to meet the technological and quantitative requirements for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Poland.

– We still have experience from the construction of the unfinished power plant in Żarnowiec, domestic and foreign experience in the construction of power plants and other facilities in which heavy concrete is used – Pilch pointed out.

The Association of Cement Producers points out that this industry consumes approximately 5%. energy consumed by Polish industry. “The annual electricity consumption of the cement industry reaches 2 TWh – almost as much as PKP consumes annually,” the association compared.

It added that electricity currently accounts for approximately 35%. cement production costs, and “strong fluctuations in its prices have a negative impact on the predictability and stability of the sector's operation” and the product price. During the April conference, the industry indicated that in the years 2017-2023 the prices of CO2 emission allowances increased from EUR 5 to EUR 100 per tonne; it expects a “jump” increase in CO2 emission allowances in 2030-2040.

According to SPC, it is necessary for the cement industry to introduce CCS technology, i.e. capturing, transporting and storing CO2, to achieve decarbonization of production. The association estimates that due to the launch of the CCS installation, the industry's demand for electricity may increase by 150-200% at the end of this decade. and will not be covered by production sources in Poland.

May 7 this year at the European Economic Congress (ECE), Leszek Juchniewicz, acting president of Polish Nuclear Power Plants, the company responsible for the construction of nuclear power plants, emphasized that the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the country is a “difficult and multi-faceted project”.

He added that, according to the contractors' declarations, they need “less than 7 years” to complete the first block. As he said, if 2028 were to be the breakthrough year in which “the first nuclear concrete” would be poured, the first unit would be built in 2035, and not in 2033 as previously assumed.

PPEJ

The Polish Nuclear Energy Program (PPEJ) of 2020 assumes the construction of two nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 6-9 GW, with 100% ownership. to the State Treasury, PEJ as an investor and operator. The previous government indicated the Westinghouse-Bechtel consortium as a partner for the first power plant. Construction at the Lubiatowo-Kopalino location would begin in 2026, the first AP1000 reactor using Westinghouse technology would be launched in 2033, and the next two – within the next three years. The Ministry of Climate announces the update of PPEJ in 2024.

The Cement Producers Association brings together the largest companies in the industry, including concrete producers. SPC data shows that there are 12 cement plants in Poland – mainly in the south of Poland due to access to raw materials from which clinker and then cement are produced. Total production capacity reaches 22 million tons per year. The cement industry employs 3.5 thousand. people and 22 thousand in cooperating plants.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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