The map of the European nuclear energy

Is Poland too late to the nuclear power party?

editor: REMIX NEWS

According to the latest Eurostat report, in 2019, a total of 106 nuclear power plants were in operation in 13 EU member states. Together, they produced 765,337 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electric energy — 26 percent of the EU’s entire production of electric energy in that year.

The biggest producer of nuclear energy in the EU was France with 399,011 GWh (52.1 percent of the EU’s total). Next was Germany with 75,071 GWh (9.8 percent), followed by Sweden with 66,130 GWh (8.6 percent) and Spain with 58,349 GWh (7.6 percent).

These four countries together were responsible for over three-quarters of the total electric energy produced in the EU’s nuclear power plants.

Meanwhile, Poland is only beginning to plan the construction of its first power plant. And some countries have begun to retreat from nuclear energy altogether. The gross production of electric energy in nuclear power plants in the EU in 2019 saw a 16.3 percent decreased compared to 2006, an average drop of 1.25 percent each year.

Two trends could be noted in the 1990-2019 period, however.

Between 1990 and 2004, the total amount of electric energy produced in nuclear power plants grew by 26.9 percent. In this period, the number of operating reactors grew, reaching a peak production level of 928,400 GWh in 2004.

Between 2004 and 2006, the production of nuclear energy in the EU stabilized. In 2006-2019, it decreased by 16.3 percent, mainly due to the drastic drop of about 55 percent in nuclear energy production in Germany.

Some countries did increase their nuclear energy production between 2006 and 2019. Romania noted a growth of 100 percent; Hungary, 21 percent; Czechia, 16.1 percent; the Netherlands, 12.7 percent; Slovenia, 4.9 percent; and Finland, 4.2 percent.

In this period, the remaining EU countries (including the main producers) lowered their production of nuclear energy, while Lithuania finally closed its nuclear reactors in 2009. Germany had the lowest decrease, followed by Slovakia (-15.2 percent), Bulgaria (-15 percent), France (-11.4 percent), Belgium (-6.7 percent), Spain (-3 percent) and Sweden (-1.3 percent).

Poland does not appear in any of this data because according to government plans, construction on Poland’s very first nuclear block is set to begin no later than 2026. A total of six blocks are to be constructed, and the first one should be activated in 2033. Government plans assume that the remaining five blocks will be activated at two to three years intervals. By 2043, the power of Polish nuclear power plants should reach 6-9 gigawatts.


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