Without a sustainable energy mix that includes nuclear energy, Europe ’s economy will be less competitive, industry will move abroad and jobs will “inevitably be lost”, Poland’s deputy economy minister and commissioner for nuclear energy has said.
In an article written for the policy journal ‘Europe’s World,’ Hanna Trojanowska said nuclear energy is no “silver bullet” for resolving all of the EU’s energy problems, but it is a crucial part of the global solution of a sustainable and diversified energy mix.
She said creating the right energy mix for Europe means taking measures to develop key technologies. That means balancing the mix with all available technologies that can help further reduce emissions, and nuclear power has the greatest potential for this. Greater diversification of electricity generation technologies means greater security of supply, she wrote.
Ms Trojanowska wrote: “Any nuclear phase-out in Europe would be comparable to greenhouse gas emission reduction plans that were limited just to the EU. It would bring with it consequences that are analogous to ‘carbon leakage’ and result not only in cheap and reliable energy being sacrificed but also a lot of jobs in much of the EU.”
The article said nuclear energy is “still used by the majority of EU member states, and is planned by newcomers that include Poland”.
“So it is wrong to think that a nuclear phase-out trend exists within the EU. There are some who, despite all the facts, wish that it would be true, but the real situation in Europe is the opposite.”
“Germany is alone in its spectacular anti-nuclear decision, for nuclear power plants are being given lifetime-extensions in Spain and in the UK and new ones are not only being considered or actively planned in Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Lithuania, but in the UK too. And they are under construction in France and Finland.”
Ms Trojanowska said it is worth stressing that nuclear energy is fully compatible with all three pillars of EU energy policy; it is a sustainable development technology because it generates power that will be available for centuries, it causes virtually no pollution and its use preserves valuable fossil resources for future generations.
Nuclear safety measures include waste treatment and storage over the long-term that are widely recognised and are being implemented, she said. “Nuclear- generated electricity is thus more reliable and cost-efficient and can help ensure that Europe meets its ambitious climate goals.”
In September 2012, four Polish state-controlled companies signed a letter of intent today to work together to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant.
Copper miner KGHM Polska Miedz, and power utilities Tauron Polska Energia and Enea said they will acquire stakes in a special purpose vehicle, PGE EJ 1 Sp Zoo, which will be responsible for building and operating the plant.
PGE EJ 1 Sp Zoo is a wholly owned subsidiary of Poland’s largest state- controlled utility, Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE).
PGE said it had shortlisted the northern Polish towns of Choczewo, Gaski and Zarnowiec as sites for its first nuclear power station.
Polish prime minister Donald Tusk has said Poland’s aim is to have its first nuclear reactor unit on line by 2020 followed by a second unit some five years later.