On the edge of a lake near the Baltic coast, half-flooded and overgrown with fir trees and shrubs, lie the remains of Poland’s last attempt to build a nuclear power plant. Begun in 1982, the project in Zarnowiec was abandoned after years of protests, and its half-finished concrete shell was left to the elements. Four decades on, Poland is trying again. Last year, the government signed off on a plan to build the country’s first nuclear plant by 2033. Five more are due to follow by 2043 as part of a broader effort to wean Poland’s economy off its increasingly uneconomic dependence on coal. The final location for the first plant has not yet been chosen. But in villages that dot the wooded countryside around Zarnowiec, there are already placards protesting against the prospect. “Why destroy one of the most beautiful places in Poland?” asks a member of an initiative against a plant near Lubiatowo, a hamlet some 20km from Zarnowiec. “Anyone who comes in here [to build a nuclear plant] will have a war.” Poland’s plan to go nuclear is an example of the stark choices states across the EU are facing as they adapt their economies and energy systems to the bloc’s ambitious climate goals. Last month, the European Commission set out sweeping plans to ensure that the bloc cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030. By 2050, it wants to achieve net zero, in order to make it one of the world’s first movers in the battle to limit the damaging effects of global warming.
FT 16th Aug 2021 read more »