Nuclear energy in Poland (18.01.2023)

• Poland plans to build six NPP units, the first of which is scheduled to go into operation in 2033.

• The government plans to use high-temperature reactors for industrial heat generation and to build a pilot plant.

• Polish industrial companies cooperate with foreign partners towards the use of SMRs, and the first applications for preliminary assessment have already been submitted.

Status quo of electricity generation

Kernkraftwerke und Strommix Polen
Strommix Polen

In 2020, total consumption was 134 TWh. Since the early 2010s, transmission connections with the Baltic States have been developed to improve their integration into the European electricity grid. In 2015, the Polish and Ukrainian grid operators concluded an agreement on the import of electricity from Ukraine. For this purpose, the restoration of a 750 kV transmission line to the Ukrainian NPP Khmelnytskyj is planned.

Political and legal framework conditions

In view of the EU's climate policy targets, Poland is striving to significantly reduce the share of coal-fired electricity generation in the domestic energy mix. In February 2021, the Council of Ministers adopted a plan for Poland's energy policy until 2040 (EPP2040). In addition to an expansion of electricity generation from RES (especially wind farms in the Baltic Sea) to 23 % and a reduction of the coal share to 60 % by 2030, the programme also provides for the construction of six NPP units by 2043 with a total capacity of 6,000 to 9,000 MW electric power (Mwe). The first unit with approx. 1,000 to 1,600 MWe is expected to become operational in 2033 and a further unit every two years. As early as 2011, the Polish parliament passed amendments to the Atomic Energy Act and other laws to create a legal framework for subsequent planning with regard to the construction and operation of NPPs and the management of radioactive waste.

Current plans and projects

NPP units in Poland

Large NPPs. In October 2022, the Polish government announced that the US company Westinghouse had been awarded the contract to build the country's first NPP. Together with the US construction company Bechtel, which is very experienced in NPP construction, Westinghouse is to build three reactors of the AP1000 construction line. The project will be financed to a large extent by the state. On the Polish side, the state-owned company PEJ was founded for this purpose, which is to hold 51 % of the project.

In December 2022, PEJ and Westinghouse signed a cooperation agreement in which the next business steps for 2023 were defined, including the conclusion of a contract this year for the planning of the NPP to be built. In December 2021, after a selection process of several years, the Baltic Sea coast in the area of Kopalino and Krokowa was announced as the site. In July 2022, Poland submitted the documents for a transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA) to its neighbouring countries; the EIA procedure had already begun in 2015 but was suspended in the meantime.

Also in October 2022, the Polish parastatal energy company ZE Pak announced the signing of a letter of intent with the Polish state utility PGE and the South Korean utility Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) for the construction of several APR-1400 NPP units. The project will be financed mainly by the private sector (KHNP intends to bear 49% of the total costs; in total, 20% of the financing is to come from capital and 80% from loans). The project can still be challenged by the EU Commission, and Westinghouse had filed a lawsuit against KHNP beforehand in a US court, claiming that the bid violated Westinghouse's intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, KHNP began exploring a potential power plant site near Pątnów in southern Poland in November 2022.

SMRs. Currently, several Polish industrial companies are pursuing the use of small modular reactors (SMRs) together with foreign partners to replace coal-fired power plants.

The Orlen Synthos Green Energy joint venture intends to build and commission the first of several GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 SMRs by the end of the decade. The exploration of potential sites began in August 2021, and in July 2022 the company submitted an application for a general opinion to the Polish National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA), which examines within a preliminary assessment whether the design complies with Polish nuclear regulations.

The Polish mining and energy company KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. signed an agreement with NuScale Power in early 2022 to initiate work for the construction of a NuScale VOYGR SMR in Poland. This plant is also scheduled to go into operation in 2029, and a preliminary assessment application has already been submitted to the Polish nuclear authority for this as well.

The company Respect Energy signed an agreement with the French EdF in early 2023 to cooperate on the development of nuclear power projects in Poland based on the French Nuward technology. The technology is still in the design phase, with a basic design to be presented by 2025. The construction of a Nuward SMR demonstration power plant is planned for 2030.

High-temperature reactors (HTRs). For several years now, the Polish government has been pursuing plans to use HTRs to reduce CO2 emissions in the provision of process heat, especially for the country's chemical industry. To this end, an experimental HTR with 10 MW thermal power (MWt) will be built first at the National Centre for Nuclear Research; Poland concluded a cooperation agreement with Japan on this in November 2022. In addition, a combined heat and power HTR with 200 to 350 MWt will be built. The cooperation with Japan also includes joint research and development regarding the use of HTRs for hydrogen production.


Research reactors

At the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Świerk, a multi-purpose research reactor with 30 MWt has been in operation since 1974. After conversion, it is one of several reactors in Europe used, among other things, for the production of molybdenum-99.



Country Profiles of the World Nuclear Association

Data and Statistics of the IEA

Energy Policy of Poland until 2040 (EPP2040)

Power Reactor Safety System of the IAEA

Research Reactor Database of the IAEA