As nuclear policies in Poland and other Eastern European countries appear to collide with those of some Western European states, the future of industrial progress and economic growth appears to be rising in the east and setting in the west.
By Dave Brown — Exclusive to Uranium Investing News
Nuclear policies in Poland and other Eastern European countries appear to be conflicting with the hard-line approach taken by Germany and the anti-nuclear power sentiment seen in Switzerland and Italy.
Poland’s state-run energy company PGE expects to be accepting technology bids for construction of the country’s first nuclear power station before the summer. The nuclear power plant will feature two or three reactors with a target capacity of about 3,000 megawatts, and is expected to be operational by the end of this decade, advancing to full capacity by 2025. PGE has received interest from three large international commercial manufacturers. The offers include a joint venture featuring Electricité de France SA (EPA:EDF) and AREVA (EPA:AREVA), as well as separate bids from Japanese-American strategic partnerships Westinghouse Electric and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas.
Nuclear politics in Eastern Europe
With a population of 38 million, 94 percent of Poland’s present electricity is generated from coal-fired plants. PGE said it expects nuclear power to make up 36 percent of its total output in 2030, after the launch of a second nuclear plant. The Director of the Nuclear Energy Department at the Polish Economy Ministry, Zbigniew Kubacki, was quoted in national German newspaper Spiegel about his outlook for energy policy decisions. Kubacki stated, “we have European obligations. We have to reduce CO2 emissions and diversify the energy mix. There is no way to avoid nuclear energy.”
The prime ministers of the Baltic States – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia – have reaffirmed their commitment to building a new nuclear power plant to serve the region, and have committed to a collaboration on nuclear power development to maintain a safe and secure energy source.
Strong power infrastructure
The Baltic region’s electricity supply is competitive with stable grid connection infrastructure. Further grid connection is expanding the potential for commercial electricity transmission between neighboring states. The Estlink-1 interconnector between Estonia and Finland was inaugurated at the end of 2006, and provided the first interconnection between the Nordic and Baltic energy markets. Further interconnectors between the Baltic states, Poland, and Sweden are planned.
Growing industrial economies embrace nuclear energy
While the population of Poland combined with that of the Baltic states is slightly more than half of the population of Germany, it is worth noting that the European Commission has forecast that for the current year, the individual rate of economic growth (GDP) for every member of this foursome will increase at a faster rate than growth rates in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.
Relevance for investors and junior uranium exploration projects
The continued growth of nuclear power for new and growing industrial economies is a confirmation of future demand for uranium resources. It is of significance that this is occurring in direct contravention of current German policy, as the western neighbor must be observed as a dominant sphere of regional commercial influence as the world’s fifth-largest economy.
With the global market beginning to recognize the uranium deficit and energy resource shortage, the underlying value of uranium will increase. This should eventually make it easier to raise capital for exploration projects, as current producers do not have the capacity to meet these demands in the near term.
Securities Disclosure: I, Dave Brown, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.