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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Jacek Sasin, Davos, construction of three nuclear power plants. Commentary by Sebastian Jablonski

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We want 3 nuclear power plants to operate in Poland in 10 to 12 years, and one of them was the power plant in Pątnów, built in Polish-Korean cooperation – said Jacek Sasin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Assets, at the Economic Forum in Davos. ZE PAK, PGE and the Korean concern KHNP signed a letter of intent regarding the development of a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Pątnów based on the Korean APR 1400 reactor technology.

As Sasin said during the debate “The road to European energy sovereignty” in Davos, apart from the implementation of the Polish Nuclear Energy Programme, the Polish government is not closed to other ideas and is open to business projects. He noted that this was the initiative that the owner of ZE PAK, Zygmunt Solorz, proposed to the government to participate in the construction of another nuclear power plant with a Korean partner. – The participation of the state-owned company is a clear sign that the Polish state supports this project – said Sasin about the participation in the project to build a nuclear power plant in Pątnów, next to ZE PAK and the Korean KHNP – also a state-controlled PGE company.

Polish-Korean cooperation

South Korean Trade Minister Dukgeun Ahn stressed that South Korea has been in a similar situation to Poland in the past and has followed the entire path leading to energy sovereignty and security, hence the good understanding of Polish problems. He also noted that the Barakah project in the United Arab Emirates showed that South Korea is able to build its nuclear power plants abroad on time and within the assumed budget. In the opinion of Maciej Stec, a member of the supervisory board of ZE PAK, the project in Pątnów is unique in the world, and the location is very well prepared, because for 60 years in this area electricity has been generated from lignite, the exploitation of which will soon end. As emphasized by Stec, ZE PAK assesses that the geotechnical, geological and seismic conditions, water availability, and connections to the power grid in Pątnów are suitable for a nuclear power plant.

Jacek SasinPAP/Radek Pietruszka

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The President of PGE, Wojciech Dąbrowski, in turn, pointed out that the use of hard coal in the power industry will last several more years, but for economic reasons it will come to an end. – Thinking responsibly, we must focus on predictable energy sources, ensuring the certainty of generation for several dozen years and energy at a price acceptable to consumers – said Dąbrowski, indicating that nuclear power meets these conditions.

Letter of Intent

KHNP President Whang Joo-ho reminded that South Korea has built the entire value chain in the nuclear energy sector, optimized the technology and will be happy to share both the technology and its experiences with Poland. – Nuclear energy has allowed Korea to achieve security and energy sovereignty, Poland will also be able to achieve these goals – said Whang. In autumn 2022, ZE PAK, PGE and the Korean company KHNP signed a letter of intent regarding the development of a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Pątnów based on Korean APR 1400 reactor technology. At the same time, the Ministry of State Assets and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea. concluded an agreement on cooperation and support for the construction project in Pątnów.

Why can there be a problem with the implementation of the investment?

Sebastian Jabłoński, president of Respect Energy, assessed in an interview with TVN24 Biznes that the biggest problem is with the implementation of such investments. – There are few entities that have experience in building this type of generating units on time. The investment process is long-lasting, and the decision-making process itself takes several years. If we start the investment process today, this energy will flow to us in 10 or 12 years, he noted. – There have been no more nuclear power plants in the world for 30 years, so if everyone wants to build them now, it is impossible to carry out. People who built reactors in the years 1950-1990 are either dead or not professionally active a long time ago – he explained.

He added that this is why “first we have to train the staff who do not exist and these educational opportunities are also limited, because in fact we are probably in a worse situation than after World War II, because then countries conducted massive research programs to develop nuclear technologies, and after the Chernobyl disaster, the world is largely focused only on maintaining the existing fleet of nuclear power plants, and not on building new ones.

Read more: “Reliability of energy supply is at stake”

Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

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