Gdańsk Tech expert on atom: "There is no risk of Fukushima disaster repeat” | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2022-11-08

Gdańsk Tech expert on atom: "There is no risk of Fukushima disaster repeat”

Following the announcement of the decision to build nuclear power plants in Poland, the voices of opponents of this form of power production returned. However, nuclear power expert of Gdańsk University of Technology convinces and reassures that the reactors to be installed in a power plant in Pomerania are the highest world class in terms of safety technology.

Pursuant to the resolution of the Council of Ministers of 2 November 2022, the first nuclear power plant in Poland will be built in Pomerania. Such an investment, may guarantee thousands of jobs, as well as stability and energy security even for about 100 years. The plans for its construction, however, have always caused concern - most often among the residents of locations indicated as suitable for such an investment.

Are the concerns legitimate? Are we really in danger of a repeat of Chernobyl or Fukushima?

A stable source of energy

Westinghouse, an American company, will be responsible for the construction of the power plant, supplied by the AP 1000 reactors. The investment is scheduled to start in 2026 and the first unit is to be built by 2033. The plenipotentiary of the Rector of Gdańsk University of Technology for nuclear energy – Marcin Jaskólski, PhD Eng – is convincing about the legitimacy of building this type of power plant.

– The European Union is currently pursuing a long-term policy of decarbonization and climate neutrality. Simultaneously, we are faced with limited access to fossil fuels due to armed conflicts or the depletion of these resources. In consequence, we have a choice of renewable energy sources and nuclear Energy – explains Marcin Jaskólski, plenipotentiary for nuclear energy. – Currently, it is difficult to imagine that we base our power source only on solar or wind power plants, dependent on weather conditions. In the future, the electricity demand will be greater than presently, which will require new sources – adds the expert.

The first nuclear power plant in Poland will be built near Lubiatów and Kopalin in the Choczewo commune. Coastal locations are often chosen for the construction of nuclear power plants due to the availability of a large body of water. Water is indispensable for cooling the condensers of steam turbines, which are part of the power plant.

Advanced safety technology

The construction of a nuclear power plant in Pomerania has been controversial for years. The failures of this type of plants, known from history, such as in the Japanese Fukushima or Chernobyl, stir the imagination, arousing fear such construction in our region. The expert emphasizes, however, that since the failure in Fukushima, safety technologies have significantly improved.

– Fukushima power plant consisted of reactors constructed at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, and are classified as generation II reactors. Currently, there is generation III +, which includes, among others, AP 1000 reactor. It is characterized by a greater use of passive cooling elements (hence its name AP – advanced passive), i.e. the use of natural phenomena to become independent from the electrical power that must be supplied to maintain safe operation of the reactor – explains Marcin Jaskólski. – From this point of view, the AP 1000 technology is the most advanced and the best protection against the effects of such failures, such as, for example, in Fukushima. – he adds.

Development of the region for years

The construction of a nuclear power plant involves a huge demand for employees within various fields. This is a growth opportunity for the region, but also for Gdańsk University of Technology. The university will soon open specializations tailored to the future needs of the nuclear power market. Additionally, a nuclear power center is planned to be built at Gdańsk Tech. Consequently, investors and contractors will be able to benefit from the knowledge and competences of university researchers.

The life cycle of a nuclear power plant can be divided into several stages – preparation for construction and the construction itself, followed by long-term operation of the facility and at the end its decommissioning.

– The entire cycle will last over a hundred years. It will provide jobs for generations of technicians, engineers and representatives of other professions. Nuclear energy is a very multidisciplinary field, involving nuclear chemists and physicists, mechanics, electricians, and materials engineers. We need to have available human resources that include teachers, persons preparing the staff, as well as the students, who will educate within the scope of various branches of technology needed – comments Marcin Jaskólski.