The prime minister of Poland announced that Westinghouse will supply Poland’s first nuclear power plants. These will be the AP1000 model plant, with three built in the first batch, and possibly another three more later on. Westinghouse beat out companies from South Korea and France for these first Polish projects.
Poland currently produces around 70% of its electricity from coal. If they are going to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, the Poles will need a large amount of reliable base load power such as these nuclear plants can provide.
Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are currently in operation in China. Also, workers at the Vogtle Unit 3 plant in the US just completed loading the uranium fuel into the reactor. That plant should be starting up in the next few months, with Vogtle Unit 4 following.
It is the expensive way to do it. I wonder if the PM said, “we can do this the expensive way. Or we can do this a better way for less money”? Did he say that to the public? Or to his cabinet? Or to the Polish assembly?
Alternatives would be far less expense and come online far sooner. Also as the alternatives roll out over the years the prices come down and the efficiencies constantly improve.
I wonder if the PM is for sale? We have a long history of buying off right wing leaders. Maybe I should not say that but we have bought off so many of them it is a miracle when we don’t.
I was surprised to learn they already have an organizational structure in place on that issue. It might make it easier to sell the idea of a large nuclear industry to the public.
From the link above… The state-owned Radioactive Waste Disposal Enterprise (Zakład Unieszkodliwiania Odpadów Promieniotwórczych, ZUOP) has been operating for many years in connection with two research reactors.
In 1998 it identified possible sites for a deep geological repository, and planned to establish an underground research laboratory to prepare for long-term placement of used fuel. The National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) is nominating five potential locations: Lanieta, Klodawa, Damaslawek, Jarocin and Pogorzel.
ZUOP operates the National Radioactive Waste Repository (Krajowe Składowisko Odpadów Promieniotwórczych, KSOP) in Różan. Mazowieckie and Voivodship also have some waste storage facilities. There are provisional plans to construct and operate by 2025 a near-surface facility for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
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BTW, construction of the Onkalo nuclear fuel repository is progressing in Finland. See link below, if interested.
Base power, or base load power, are those power plants that are run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wind and solar with batteries cannot do that. Most of the utility scale battery installations I have read about only provide a few hundred megawatts for maybe 4 hours of discharge.
Those battery installations can help to meet peak load demand in the late afternoon and early evening when the power is needed the most. In that role, batteries have a use. But to think they can provide power 24 hours a day is a big exaggeration. Batteries also need to be charged up from some power source, during which time they cannot supply the grid.
Poland needs more energy. The assumption is something you might as well be calling absolute base load but you will having it ready in more than ten years before it comes online.
Meanwhile Poland has power. It wants more power. Poland has base load. Poland wants more power. While batteries do not offer perfect base load power…people here are assuming Poland needs more base load power.
That is not true, if Poland has more power then the base load power they have goes further.
Long before the first nuclear power plant comes online in Poland the battery developments will be offering base load power. And for far less money.
Pete, dont’ get hung up on the base load arguments. That is the past. The future is where new energy sources are paid for…
Poland consumed 180 TWh of electricity in 2021 with coal producing 126 TWh of electricity. Each Westinghouse AP1000 reactor will generate 9 TWh. So to eliminate coal generation, Poland would need to build 14 reactors. The first 3 reactors will take them 10 years to build. If they start construction on all 3 in 2025, they will be ready in 2035 at over 10 billion euros each. Then the next 3 reactors will start in 2035 and finish in 2045. But that is not enough - Poland needs 8 more AP1000 reactors to get off coal.
I predict Poland will complete the first 3 reactors and then turn to renewable energy because of cost and schedule. They can build equivalent renewables in half the time and half the cost. They have the Baltic Sea for wind turbines, they have mountains and rivers for hydro, and they have lots of land for solar.
Some geography facts: Poland is a large country almost the size of Germany and larger than Italy. Poland has a long coast on the Baltic Sea. Poland has much less people than the following countries: Germany, France, UK, Italy and Spain. The population density of Poland is 50% less than Germany.
True we don’t know that, and they are planning to build three at once which hopefully means there will be some economies of scale and gains of institutional knowledge. But Europe has had the some troubles building new nuclear as the US, namely long delays and cost over-runs. An enormous new reactor just came online in Finland which is sorely needed, but it was 12 years late.
That is a lot of unrealistic and wishful thinking!!! Poland has never built a large nuclear nuclear power plant (NPP). Where will they get all the skilled nuclear engineers, construction workers, and equipment/material manufacturers?
We know that large NPPs built in the last 20 years have been drastically behind schedule and over budget everywhere. Chinese seem to do the best but even they have 6 to 8 years to build a large NPP. We know that the Chinese had problems building the large AP1000 reactors even without some of the safety features of other AP1000 reactors. We all know about the American AP1000 failures in South Carolina and Georgia with budgets and schedules.
We also know about the French are having problems building their large EPR reactors in France, Finland and UK. The French and Finnish EPRs are taking more than 12 years to build and billions of euros over budget. The UK EPR reactors are a few years into construction and already behind schedule and over budget.
These large reactors are too big, too expensive and take too long to build. That is why the future of nuclear power depends on Small Modular Reactors which are supposed to be cheaper and faster to build.
They just found cracks in the feedwater pump impellers at that plant, so that will set them back several weeks or months. It should be noted those pumps are in the non-nuclear part of the plant, so there aren’t any nuclear safety implications.
That plant in Finland is a French EPR. As I have written before, the EPR is big, complicated and expensive. Even the French now recognize these drawbacks, and are now developing the EPR-2, which is supposed to be simpler to construct.
The Westinghouse AP1000 is somewhat smaller (1100 MW vs 1600 MW) and simpler, since the AP1000 does not need to rely on active safety systems. Can the Polish plants be built quickly and cheaply? I think it depends how much experience from the US can be applied, so the same mistakes don’t happen again. Another complicating factor is these are Poland’s first nuclear plants. They will need to develop a regulatory structure, along with training and supply chains that know how to deal with nuclear equipment. It will not be easy, but the United Arab Emirates recently went through the same issues of developing a domestic nuclear energy industry. The UAE now has three of four plants in operation.
China routinely builds nuclear power plants in 5 to 6 years, and their costs are reportedly much less. It can be done, with enough experience, so that lessons learned on early projects are applied to later ones.
Not true for the EPR and AP1000 reactors that China built. Also not true for the average large reactors in China. I do not believe their cost numbers because they are all government controlled, and they do not have the normal taxes, cost for loans, and profits that other countries have included in their costs.
I figured reprocessing was outlawed because the for-profit utilities would not buy the reprocessed fuel. So, instead, we have a huge waste problem. I am not as casual about scores of dry casks laying around the country as some people are. As of 2008, the cost estimate for Yucca Mountain was some $96B, so burying it isn’t free either. The Wiki article lists operating reprocessing sites in China, France, the UK, India, Pakistan, and Russia.
And yet, the atmospheric CO2 concentration just keeps going up. 415 ppm as of September, and will be above 420 ppm next year, going up even more the year after, etc.
Its been almost 25 years since the Kyoto Protocol accord, and the CO2 curve hasn’t slowed one bit. In fact, the curve is going up faster in the last several years.
But, I’m supposed to take solace in the fact that “Renewables are winning”. All of this focus on the intermittent and unreliable renewables completely misses the point, in my opinion. Future generations will not be kind, if this CO2 thing is becoming such a problem.