By the end of 2019, Poland plans to approve programmatic documents in the field of energy, namely the “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040” and the “Polish Nuclear Power Programme”, required for the implementation of NPP construction projects. The relevant draft documents have been approved and are planned for consideration by the Polish Parliament in September-October 2019.
The need to implement NPP construction projects is related to the following factors:
1. Improving the country’s energy security by creating a new generation of energy that can replace coal generation and ensure a stable mode of electricity production as well as cover additional demand. At the same time, Poland can avoid increasing dependence on energy imports (natural gas and coal), as well as reduce the cost of acquiring CO2 emissions permits under the European decarbonization policy. In the meantime, Polish experts avoid answering questions about ways of obtaining nuclear fuel and storing nuclear waste.
2. An optimal option for decarbonization of domestic energy and maintaining a balanced structure of the energy complex, as well as fulfilling environmental and climate commitments within the EU.
3. Strengthening partnerships with potential technology and nuclear fuel suppliers. The choice of Poland will determine the nature of the future strategic partnership and increase the country’s importance on the world geopolitical map.
4. Nuclear power is a mobilizing issue for Polish voters, in fact the ruling party is associated with the nuclear power support group, while opponents of its development rally around the opposition.
Poland’s likely partner in nuclear power is the United States, although Poland is currently considering the possibility of incorporating relevant technologies from South Korea and France. South Korea is willing to offer proven technology and reasonably acceptable financial and economic conditions for co-operation, but Poland may refuse, in view of the lack of political and security benefits of implementing a strategic joint project with the Asian country.
According to experts, France is actively gaining political weight in the EU and can be seen as a convenient stepping stone to enhance cooperation in the wide range of European political issues. However, E.Macron’s policy of reducing the share of nuclear power plants in the country’s energy balance, as well as political steps towards the Russian Federation, are good reasons for Poland to abandon a joint energy project with the French side.
The US, for their part, can offer Poland the most advanced technology and stable political support, but may yield to other candidates in terms of attractiveness of economic conditions. According to available information, as a member of Euratom, Poland is eligible to receive US technology, and given the level of security cooperation and volume of energy imports from the US, there is likely to be an acceptable total cost of a future US-Polish NPP construction project.
In addition, nuclear power can become an important aspect of parliamentary elections in Poland, the finals of which are scheduled for October 13, 2019. The ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) plans to submit relevant strategic documents to the government in the fall of 2019 for political advantage and in order to lay the groundwork for legislative approval of the development of the nuclear generation by the next convocation of the parliament.