Poland’s second-richest man may beat the government in building the nation’s first nuclear power plant.
Michal Solowow’s Synthos SA, the second-largest European maker of synthetic rubber, signed a memorandum with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to build a small 300-megawatt reactor next to the company’s factory in southern Poland, which could be completed as early as 2027. That’s six years earlier than the government expects to build its first plant in a plan to construct at least 6 gigawatts of nuclear and cut the nation’s reliance on coal for electricity generation.
“Small modular reactors can play a significant role in addressing Poland’s energy challenges,” Sololow said Tuesday in a statement. They “will improve our chances to move away from coal and have a positive impact on our industry and nation.”
Poland, which gets about 80% of its electricity from burning coal, is slowly coming to terms with the fact that it has no choice but to shed the dirty fuel to meet European Union climate goals. To do so, it’s energy policy is counting on gas, offshore wind, solar energy and nuclear, which it sees generating about 20% of its needs by 2040.