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Industrials

Poland to seek EU approval for state aid to build nuclear plant

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will ask the European Commission to approve state aid for the construction of a nuclear power station, the minister responsible for energy infrastructure said on Thursday.

“It is impossible these days to build a nuclear power plan without state support,” Piotr Naimski told a news conference.

Poland generates most of its electricity from burning coal and sees nuclear energy as a way to help it reduce emissions as required by the European Union.

The country wants to build 6-9 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear energy capacity. It plans to build its first nuclear power plant by 2033, but has not yet worked out a financing scheme.

Earlier this week, Poland and the United States struck an agreement under which Warsaw will likely buy $18 billion in nuclear technology from U.S. companies, the U.S. energy department said.

Naimski said, however, that financial details for the new plant were not part of the deal and construction costs and funding were still subject to negotiations.

The minister said nuclear energy was needed because renewable sources that Poland plans to develop, including offshore wind farms and solar power, needed a backup of stable supplies.

Poland is the only EU state that has not set a target to be carbon neutral, with the ruling Law and Justice party arguing the country needs more time and money to switch its economy from coal to cleaner energy.

Naimski also said Poland would involve its domestic industry in the building of reactors to lower costs.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by John Stonestreet and Mark Potter

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