Polish government suspends construction of Pątnów nuclear power plant

The construction of a small nuclear power plant in Pątnów, central Poland, a collaborative project involving a South Korean corporation and Polish stakeholders, faces suspension amid government hesitations

Visualization of a small modular reactor (SMR). (Source: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Plans to build a small nuclear power plant in Pątnów, central Poland, are reportedly on hold, according to insider sources from Polityka Insight news outlet.

The project, a partnership between ZE PAK — a Warsaw Stock Exchange company owned by Zygmunt Solorz, one of Poland’s wealthiest individuals and owner of TV Polsat — and the state-controlled Polish Energy Group (PGE), faces significant hurdles. South Korean company KHNP was supposed to oversee the construction but new reports suggest the investment might be shelved.

Originally, the Pątnów plant was to feature two South Korean APR-1400 reactors, with a total capacity of 2.8 GW, and was earmarked for completion by 2035 in the Konin-Pątnów area, adjacent to the current ZE PAK power plant locations. However, a meeting of the PGE supervisory board led by President Dariusz Marzec hinted that the investment is effectively frozen.

The project was previously endorsed by the former conservative (PiS) government, particularly by Minister of State Assets Jacek Sasin, who recently criticized the current government’s approach on social media, suggesting it undermines Poland’s energy independence by leaning towards expensive German coal power.

“Our goal was clear and ambitious — to provide Poland with affordable and clean energy through its own nuclear power infrastructure,” the former minister wrote on X on Wednesday. Sasin criticized Prime Minister Donald Tusk for discarding this vision, accusing him of consistently acting against Polish interests and favoring Germany, leading Poland to buy expensive electricity from German coal power plants. He labeled Tusk a “liquidator of the sovereign Polish state,” predicting this would be his historical legacy.

The Polish Energy Group insisted the project is still in its early stages of analysis and is continuing based on the previous administration’s plans. A comprehensive governmental strategy on nuclear energy development in Poland is deemed necessary for such a crucial infrastructure project to proceed.

The Pątnów nuclear project is often referred to as the “Small Atom” because it was to utilize small modular reactors (SMRs) of relatively low power. The decision to build the first nuclear power plant in Poland, known as the “Big Atom,” on the Baltic coast, was awarded to the American company Westinghouse. Although the current left-liberal coalition in Poland has expressed reservations about this project, American pressure appears too strong to abandon it.

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