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The Polish government signed a contract Wednesday in Warsaw with the American company Westinghouse to design and build its first nuclear power plant to generate electricity.
The agreement, which was already announced months ago, was formalized in writing by the president of the Polish state-owned Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe and representatives of the U.S. firm.
At a press conference following the signing, Polish Environment Minister Anna Moskwa said that the project will allow Poland to “feel secure for years to come” from an energy point of view, thanks to cooperation with “a reliable and experienced partner.”
The minister stated that both countries “have definitely strengthened their cooperation in energy security in recent years” and pointed out that “today there would not be (in Poland) a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal without the supplies coming from the U.S.”.
Moskwa also confirmed that “before the summer” his government intends to sign a similar agreement for the construction of a second nuclear power plant with the same partner, once “all consultations regarding environmental impact are resolved”, at which time “it will be implemented as soon as possible”.
The project signed with Westinghouse foresees the start of construction of the plant in 2026 and will provide, according to the minister, “at least 3.75 Gigawatts (GW) to the energy system” of Poland when it is operating at full capacity in 2032.
The U.S. ambassador to Poland, Mark Brzezinski, present at the official ceremony, said that “there is no area of economic cooperation more important than energy” and described the agreement as a “critical element.”
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The location of the first plant was decided in March and the site chosen was Choczewo (north), a town of about 5,000 inhabitants on the Polish Baltic coast.
Poland plans to generate 6.6 GW of electricity per year and stop emitting 8 million tons of CO2 per year by building at least three nuclear power plants over the next decade, the construction of which has been awarded to U.S. and South Korean companies.
Currently, the Vistula country needs about 33 GW per year, two-thirds of which comes from coal.