The Polish Government and the deputy head of a regional Polish authority in the Baltic Coast region have questioned the location of the country’s first nuclear power station, in Choczewo, and are appealing for an alternative site.
The Voivod (prefect) of the Pomeranian region, Beata Rutkiewicz, apparently has the backing of her local authority in seeking the change of location for the power station, citing what she described as the potential “degradation of the natural environment”.
Her office did not say the Donald Tusk-led Government had taken any final decision but confirmed Rutkiewicz wants a review of the location of the facility planned about 65km from Gdańsk, followed by a final decision after a detailed analysis of the matter.
This view is in line with a Government pledge to conduct an audit of all major investment programmes planned by the previous Conservative (PiS) administration.
At the same time, Tusk has made it clear he wants the nuclear-power station building programme to proceed.
Former Polish PM Beata Szydło, on hearing about possible delays to the programme, accused the Government of “playing games” in a bid to stop it going ahead.
Senior PiS MP Zbigniew Kuzmiuk told Brussels Signal he felt the nuclear-power programme was “in danger of being derailed”.
“The Voivod wants to begin the process of identifying a new location, whereas the process of choosing the present one took seven years to complete an environmental impact assessment – which could push this project back from completion by 2033 to 2040.”
Kuzmiuk also said he feared that, if the location is changed, the current US investor Westinghouse “could get cold feet”.
He added that, if Poland “once again draws back from investing in nuclear power”, then “because of the EU’s climate policies and the need to limit the generation of power from coal, Poland will become dependent for its energy needs from foreign sources”.
Government spokeseman Jan Grabiec MP denied it was planning to change the location but did not rule the possibility out, saying: “In the early investment processes, especially until the real start of the project … some changes may take place but, as far as the location of this project is concerned, there is no indication of such decisions being made.”
The previous government signed a deal with Westinghouse for the construction of the county’s first atomic power station, due for completion in 2033.
The Polish Nuclear Energy Programme aims to establish an installed capacity of 6-to-9 gigawatts, using “proven” pressurised-water reactors.
Research commissioned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment, in November 2022, showed strong support for nuclear power plants in Poland.
Up to 86 per cent of Poles polled were in favour of such and more than 70 per cent of respondents were willing to have a nuclear-power plant built “near their location”, it found.