Polish atomic developments update

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No major promise from the Polish Ministry of Energy (MoE) related to the nuclear policy has materialized since they were constantly being made during the FY2017 H2 period: it has not submitted the revision of the principal nuclear program (PNEP) of 2014 to the government. Its preparation has been further delayed, and now MoE says that it should be announced "before mid-2018", so six months later then the ministry had been claiming by end-2017.

Similarly, it has not even announced any financial model which is supposed to be an inherent part of the revised PNEP. It is clear for most of the observers that identifying robust and big enough source of funding as well as a robust financial plan ("setting up the scene") for that new-build are the biggest causes of and hindrances within this delay. The recent weeks only saw speculations about another entity, PKN Orlen, a 28 percent state-owned (with so called 'golden share') petrol company, to get involved in funding of the Poland's nuclear project. Yet, it is not official, and no technical details were discussed by MoE which has not confirmed, not even unofficially, such plans to change the shareholders' line-up of the nuclear undertaking.

In the meantime, there has been a slight spin about high-temperature reactors (HTRs), a new type (so called 'fourth generation') of reactors which are only planned to be developed (by ca. 2031) by MoE with largely domestic nuclear engineers, formally by the National Nuclear Research Center (NCBJ) at Świerk town, and later deployed (in late 2030s) close to and for the benefit of a number of chemical and petroleum establishments across Poland (to deliver industrial process heat, i.e. steam of ca. 500-700 degrees Celcius).

In mid-January 2018 MoE approved a report from its team of experts which recommended the project and taking on specifically HTRs employing cooling systems with helium or other inert gas (HTGR):

MoE claims that those reactors would be developed in parallel to the Polish 'conventional' nuclear power program. According to the report, constructing a prototype of 165 MW(th) capacity would cost ca. PLN 2bn (ca. EUR 490m) plus PLN 500m (ca. EUR 122m) in licensing costs.

The summary in English of the report itself (only Polish version exists) is available for download at: