Climate goals hard to achieve without nuclear energy - Polish official

According to Kurtyka, climate awareness has been growing in Poland. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The Polish climate minister has stated that it will be very difficult for Poland to achieve ambitious climate goals without nuclear energy.

Michał Kurtyka, who is also Poland's candidate for OECD secretary general, told Ambassador Richard Morningstar of the Washington-based Atlantic Council think-tank during an online conversation on Friday, that Poland had inherited a system which would be coming increasingly outdated.

"Poland has inherited a system which will be growing more and more outdated; we have to invest and increase the awareness of Poles, that after 30 years of a fast economic growth the time has come to raise living standards, including the quality of air," Kurtyka said.

According to Kurtyka, climate awareness has been growing in Poland. This, in his opinion, has been accompanied by mounting pressure on politics and demands for more (climate - PAP) ambitious goals.

"We have been gaining momentum to an unprecedented energy transition," Kurtyka stated, pointing to the development of photovoltaics and wind energy in Poland.

But, at the same time, the climate minister said that nuclear energy should be the basis of a transition in Poland. "Ambitious goals will be very difficult, or even impossible, to achieve without nuclear energy," he stated, adding that Poland wanted to use generation III reactors, which are "a stable and safe source."

The official said that Poland wanted to start the construction of a nuclear plant in 2026, and that the first reactor should become operational in 2033. Its location is to be approved within two years.

Kurtyka added that if these plans failed, the Polish energy transition could face a risk.