U.S. signs on to development of civil nuclear energy in Poland

October 20, 2020, 12:00PMNuclear Newsbrouillette, energy security, poland



Potential U.S. involvement in the development of a civil nuclear power program for Poland took another step forward on October 19 when U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and Poland’s secretary of state for strategic energy infrastructure, Piotr Naimski, discussed the signing of the first intergovernmental agreement toward that end.

The 30-year agreement, which Brouillette has signed and which will be signed by Naimski once the document is received in Warsaw, becomes effective upon the exchange of diplomatic notes between the two nations informing each other that they have completed all applicable requirements for its entry into force, according to a Department of Energy press release.

Pact particulars: The agreement calls for the United States and Poland to cooperate over the next 18 months on a report laying out a plan for implementing Poland’s nuclear power program, as well as potential financing arrangements. It also defines areas of U.S.-Polish cooperation for decades to come, the DOE said, including support for relevant business entities and government-led efforts ranging from regulation to research and training to supply chain development.

What they’re saying: “The U.S. is committed to working with Poland to advance its national security, its regional security, and its democratic sovereignty,” Brouillette said. “The Trump administration believes the key to energy security is energy diversity—a diversity of fuels, sources, and routes. Nuclear will provide a clean and reliable supply of electricity to the people of Poland, as well as enhance their energy diversity and security. The next generation of nuclear energy must be a part of the energy security conversation with our allies in Europe and around the world.”

Naimski said, “This agreement is not only about clean energy and its security of supply. Poland sees this strategic cooperation in a wider context. It is about geopolitical security, long-term economic growth, technological advancement, and development of a new industrial sector in Poland.”

Poland’s ambassador to the United States, Piotr Wilczek, added, “Poland wants the USA to be the strategic partner in this program. Given the time it takes to build, operate, and decommission nuclear power plants, this partnership would represent a strategic choice for the next 100 years.”

Background: Currently, Poland has no nuclear power facilities (most of its electricity is generated by coal), but it has participated in talks with the United States over the years to explore ideas for a Polish nuclear power industry.

The U.S.-Poland Strategic Dialogue on Energy was announced by President Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda at a White House meeting in September 2018. Former energy secretary Rick Perry launched the dialogue in Warsaw in November 2018 and held the first two strategic dialogues in 2019. Also that year, the United States and Poland signed a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for civil purposes and expressing the readiness of both parties to collaborate on a Polish nuclear energy program. In February of this year, the third energy dialogue was held, and in August, a draft of the agreement was signed.

Goals: According to the report Energy Policy of Poland until 2040, Poland plans to build six nuclear reactors, each with a capacity of 1,000 to 1,500 MWe, for a total capacity of 6,000 to 9,000 MWe. The first reactor is to be in operation by 2033 and the remaining five by 2043. Poland’s first nuclear power plant is to be built in Pomerania, a region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.