Poland approves draft regulatory changes for nuclear facilities

23 August 2022

Poland’s Council of Ministers have adopted a draft act amending legislation on the preparation and implementation of investments in nuclear power facilities and associated investments and some other acts, submitted by the Minister of Climate and Environment, according to Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (Panstwowa Agencja Atomistyki).

According to the adopted schedule, the construction of the first NPP in Poland will start in 2026, and in 2033 the first unit with a capacity of approximately 1-1.6GWe will be launched. Subsequent units will be implemented every 2-3 years, and the entire nuclear programme provides for the construction of six nuclear units with a total installed capacity of approximately 6-9GWe, based on large, proven generation III (+) pressurised water reactors.

The main goal of the changes introduced by the government is to shorten the time of investment implementation. The estimated investment required for this is PLN150 billion ($32bn).According to the amendments, public administration bodies, upon a justified investor's request, will provide information and data free of charge for use in connection with the performance of tasks related to nuclear power facilities and associated investments. The catalogue of accompanying investments will in future include any investments required to conduct environmental and site investigations for NPP construction and supporting infrastructure.

The amendments also allow for the temporary operation of a nuclear facility during the period between issuance of a commissioning licence and issuance of an operating licence. The new rules are expected to enter into force by the end of this year.

In March, Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe (PEJ - Polish Nuclear Power Plants) submitted a report on the environmental impact of the first NPP, which is to be built in Pomeraniach to the General Director for Environmental Protection. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report covers the construction and operation of the plant with an electric capacity of up to 3750MWe, in the area of the municipalities: Choczewo or Gniewino and Krokowa.

US, French and South Korean companies have all expressed interest in supplying nuclear plants and are busy developing local supply chains to support their positions. In 2021, the government ratified an intergovernmental nuclear cooperation agreement giving the USA 18 months to prepare a technology and financing offer. The US Trade & Development Agency then provided a grant to PEJ to support engineering and design studies by Westinghouse and Bechtel for an AP1000 reactor. Also in 2021 EDF offered to build up to six 1650 MWe EPR units. In April 2022 Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) offered to build six 1345 MWe APR1400 units, with the first to begin operation by 2033 and also offered to finance 20-30% of the project.

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