Poland sees first nuclear power production after 2030

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland expects its first nuclear power plant to start operating after 2030 as the country aims to cut its use of coal in producing electricity, Deputy Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka said.

The east European country, which hosts global climate talks in December, generates around 80 percent of its electricity from coal in outdated power plants, many of which will have to close in the coming decade.

Poland has considered building a nuclear power plant for years, but has yet to take a binding decision on the project.

“The discussion over launching the nuclear power plant has accelerated. It is mostly about the international partnership. We are able to finance the construction on our own, but we have to draw the technology from somewhere,” Kurtyka told Reuters.

He added Poland would talk with France, the United States, Japan and South Korea about nuclear technologies.

“The energy minister is also in such talks with the U.S. side. The recent signals show that they are very advanced (...) I assume that (the) nuclear power station will start generating power after 2030,” said Kurtyka, also a former deputy energy minister.

During a visit to Poland earlier in November, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski signed a joint declaration of enhanced cooperation over energy security, including the nuclear power plant.

The Energy Ministry is expected to publish Poland’s long-term energy policy by the end of the year, likely at the U.N. climate conference in Katowice, the heart of the coal industry in the south of the country.

Government officials have said Poland will gradually reduce its reliance on coal, so it accounts for half of electricity generation by 2040.

“In future the significance of coal in Poland’s energy supplies will be diminishing. We assume that in 2030 the share of coal in Poland’s energy mix will be 60 percent,” said Kurtyka.

He added that 25 gigawatts or 44 percent of Poland’s installed power capacity in 2030 will be based on coal while the remaining energy sources will be wind, some photovoltaic and gas.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise