The days of the remaining German nuclear power plants are numbered. In Poland, plans for nuclear power plants continue. There is no “serious danger”.
It is around 250 kilometers as the crow flies from the German border to the site where Poland is planning to build a nuclear power plant. The review of participation because the project could have “significant cross-border effects”. The project thus falls within the scope of the so-called Espoo Convention, which since 1997 has also provided for participation in affected neighboring countries.
The responsible Polish Director General for Environmental Protection has now published a number of documents in German to enable the German public to participate. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as its immediate neighbour, is the federal state responsible for this.
The documents, which comprise several hundred pages, show that the proximity to the Baltic Sea in particular was a decisive factor in the choice of location. It has not yet been determined exactly where it will be built, but both candidates are located in the Pomeranian Voivodeship and are not far from each other. The Lubiatowo-Kopalino site is located directly on the Baltic Sea, while the Zarnowiec site is on Lake Zarnowieckie, from which cooling water is planned to be discharged into the Baltic Sea.
Three reactors with a capacity of up to 3750 megawatts are planned
The size of the power plant is certain: three reactors with an output of up to 3750 megawatts are planned. For comparison: the Jänschwalde lignite-fired power plant in Brandenburg has an output of up to 3000 megawatts. The manufacturer has also already been chosen. The US group Westinghouse wants to build pressurized water reactors of the type AP1000. The company calls the type the “most advanced commercially available nuclear power plant” based on 25 years of research and development. Westinghouse cites the facility’s “unmatched security.”
The background to the mega-project is the program “Poland’s Energy Policy until 2040” (PEP2040), which assumes a far-reaching energy transition. By 2040, 80 percent of electricity in Poland should come from renewable sources and nuclear power. Their share is estimated at 16 percent when the three reactors run on the Baltic Sea. “PEP assumes that the introduction of nuclear energy will help stop the increase in energy costs for end users,” the Polish side said. There is talk of a “new, safe and stable as well as emission-free power generation source”.
Significant expense due to sea level rise
According to the documents from Poland, the Polish Nuclear Power Plants GmbH (Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe sp. z o.o) expects a total construction time of 12 to 17 years, including the preparation and commissioning phase, depending on the location. It is also assumed that the first reactors can be connected to the grid earlier. The technology chosen for the Westinghouse reactor makes it possible “to operate within a period of 60 years from the commissioning of each nuclear power unit”.
The effort for the power plant is not inconsiderable: Because an increase in sea level is to be expected and storms have to be calculated, the building ground is heaped up to 9 or 9.50 meters above sea level. At times, up to 8,000 workers are expected on the construction site, and the report assumes 860 employees for continuous operation.
The security situation is also described, separated according to natural and human sources of interference. The risk of terrorist acts in the Pomeranian Voivodeship is rated as “very low probability”. The probability of the occurrence of a serious accident associated with the destruction of the reactor core, including reactor core meltdown, is less than once in a million years for the planned reactor type. “
“No serious hazards identified”
In the end, the verdict of the environmental impact report is unequivocal: “During the preparation of this report, no serious hazards were identified that would make the construction of the nuclear power plant impossible in any of the site variants.”