Polish nuclear plant reportedly facing freeze

By bne IntelliNews September 22, 2016

Poland's project to build the a first nuclear power plant looks to be facing a trip to the deep freeze, local media suggested on September 22. The speculation comes on the back of reports that up to 70% of staff at the company carrying out the project, PGE EJ1, are set to be cut.

The reductions in personnel, as well as cuts in the company’s other budget items, reflect growing conviction in the Polish government that a nuclear plant will not be a vital addition to Poland’s energy mix for decades to come, Rzeczpospolita reports.

The project has already suffered several years of delay, as is the case with nuclear dreams across Europe. However, it is Warsaw's focus on coal that appears to be behind the plan to shutter the scheme.

Poland may return to the nuclear power project once production of coal - from which over 80% of energy in Poland is produced - begins to fall, the newspaper suggests. The government has pledged to tie the struggling mining sector to the country's state-controlled utilities to prop op demand. PGE EJ1’s mother company PGE was pulled into investing new coal mining group PGG earlier this year.

Poland has coal deposits that will last for decades. Warsaw has recently asked the European Commission to help finance new coal-fired power generation capacity, in return for ratification of key agreements to combat climate change.

The original target date for the first unit at the nuclear plant to go online was 2020. That was later delayed to 2025, and then to around 2029, because of problems with determining location and financing.

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