Environmental decision for Poland’s first nuclear power plant already issued

pierwszej elektrowni jądrowej

At the end of last year, we wrote about where the process of obtaining an environmental decision for Poland’s first nuclear power plant stands. Today we already know its contents.

On September 21, 2023. The General Director of Environmental Protection(GDOŚ) has issued a decision specifying the environmental conditions for the implementation of the project to build and operate Poland’s first nuclear power plant in the area of the municipalities of Choczewo or Gniewino and Krokowa. This information was provided by the head of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, Anna Moskva. She stressed that this is an important moment in the realization of an investment crucial to the country’s energy security.
The entire environmental decision, including the attached materials, is 558 pages long.

“Notification of the General Director of Environmental Protection, dated September 21, 2023, marked: DOOŚ-OA.4205.1.2015.126, to inform the parties to the proceedings that the General Director of Environmental Protection, by decision dated September 19, 2023, marked: DOOŚ-OA.4205.1.2015.125, determined the environmental conditions for the implementation of the project consisting in: Construction and operation of Poland’s first Nuclear Power Plant, with electric power up to 3750 MWe, in the area of the municipalities of Choczewo or Gniewino and Krokowa, planned to be implemented in variant 1 – location Lubiatowo-Kopalino, technical sub-option 1A”.

Construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant

According to the plan approved by the Council of Ministers, construction work will begin in 2026. The first unit of the first nuclear power plant, with a capacity in the range of 1-1.6 GW, is expected to come online in 2033. The next blocks are to be added every 2-3 years. Total capacity is planned at 6 to 9 GWe, and the technology will be based on proven third-generation (III+) nuclear reactors.

Poland’s first nuclear power plant – key findings

The decision to build a nuclear power plant in Poland has been thoroughly analyzed by the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection. After analyzing all aspects related to the environmental impact of such an investment, the GDOŚ came to several key conclusions.

First of all, if all the technical, technological and organizational recommendations and solutions indicated in the environmental impact report are followed during the implementation and operation of the nuclear power plant, it will not have a significant negative impact on the environment. This means that the use of appropriate technologies and practices can effectively minimize potential risks to nature.

Moreover, the investment will not have a negative impact on Natura 2000 protected areas. This is important because these areas are key to preserving biodiversity in Europe. The GDOŚ also stressed that the condition of natural habitats, both plant and animal, will not deteriorate as a result of the construction of the power plant. The same applies to the integrity of Natura 2000 sites and their links to other protected areas. The General Directorate also stressed that the nuclear power plant in Poland will not have a significant negative impact on groundwater and surface water, as well as on the waters of the Baltic Sea.

Scope of monitoring by decision

The environmental decision imposed an obligation to monitor both surface water and groundwater. It includes the implementation and operation phases, when the biological, physicochemical and chemical elements of the status of surface water bodies that may be affected by the project should be controlled. Monitoring is to be carried out in accordance with current GIOŚ methodology and should include two ppk each on the Biebrowa Canal and the Chelst River. Hydrological conditions in the Biebrowa Canal should also be continuously monitored.

In addition, at the stage of implementation and operation, monitoring of the marine waters of the East Gotland Basin and the coastal surface water body should be carried out́: Polish coastal waters of the Gotland Basin PLCW20001WB2.

For groundwater, a network of piezometers collecting information from the main usable aquifer at the project site should be controlled. On the other hand, during the implementation phase, once a quarter, it will be necessary to check the quantitative status of groundwater, and during the operation phase – its qualitative status, taking into account the physical and chemical elements of the assessment of the status of groundwater bodies.

We wrote more about how important water is to a nuclear power plant and whether its absence could affect the entire system in an article: “Nuclear power plant. Does access to water matter?“. It will help you learn why this resource is so valuable and the consequences of its scarcity.

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