My Kongres590/Warsaw talk: “Building a Joint Three-Seas-Initiative Nuclear Energy R&D-and-Training Center” [Polish & English]

Note: The Polish Interpreter’s voice dominates; however with headphones I could follow the English. Apologies, there’s no separate English audio.

“Cooperation in energy transformation and trade to increase the economic strength of the Three Seas Region …”

Kongres590 – Warsaw – 14 October 2021

  • Moderator: prof. dr. hab. Zbigniew Krysiak, Chairman of the Program Council of the Institute of Schuman Thought
    Panellists:
  • Dr. Thomas W. O’Donnell, (PhD Nuclear Physics; Lecturer in Berlin & Energy & Geopolitical Analyst),
  • Julius Zellah, (President of the Light for Africa Online Foundation)
  • Paweł Kotowski, (Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Jarosław Malczewski, (President of the Polish Dairy Group),
  • Dr. Krzysztof Malczewski, (President of the B-2M Company)

Key points of my talk:

1. Poland has no previous experience in nuclear energy; and this is a difficult problem that needs to be tackled starting now. Also, any institute needs a sufficient scale to guarantee both high standards and employment security to those trained for industry, academia, safety, and planning.  It is for this reason that nuclear training in Poland’ should be done jointly, together with all 12 of the Three Seas Initiative members (i.e., the eastern EU member states, and this may soon include also Ukraine – many of which countries already have established nuclear programs). And, as part of the Three Seas Initiative, this means also in conjunction with the USA, in particular its Department of Energy with a vast network of nationl laboratories and obviously decades of nuclear experience to draw on.

I suggested also, at the end of my talk, that my alma mater, the University of Michigan and its Department of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences (UM NERS) – for many years the top-rated nuclear engineering program in the USA – would be valuable partners for Poland and the Three Seas states. 

2. It is imperative for Poland and its Three Seas Initiative partners energy-transiton future, that nuclear energy is included in the EU’s “Green Finance Taxonomy” as soon as possible. The scientific arm of the European Commission has given a resoundingly positive endorsement to nuclear waste and, for that matter, the entire nuclear energy cycle, as posing “no significant harm,” to the environment, as required to be included in the finance taxonomy.  This would mean Poland and the many new nuclear projects planned in the Three Seas Region, primarily in cooperation with the USA, would be eligible for favorable rates of green financing, carbon credits and, as the Polish Prime Minister demanded recently, subsidies, all on a par with wind and solar renewables, as a necessary, safe and zero-carbon-emitting energy source.

3. Poland\s recently announced energy transition plan is especially pragmatic, rational and achievable. It foresees the phasing out coal with 6-9 nuclear plants and a reasonable level of variable renewables, natural gas as a backup to renewables for as long as necessary.

5. AN emphasis also on public education, to prepare the public with accurate, scientific and objective information for the birth of this new energy sector in the country. Poland will undoubtedly have to confront unscientific anti-nuclear fears and demands for what could be called “renewable fundamentalism,” that is for   “100% renewables and no nuclear” energy, a sort of green populism that has gripped Germany’s enrgy transition and is causing major technical, public-acceptance and economic-cost problems there..

The nuclear-gas-renewable plans of Poland’s Minister Michal Kurtyka, presented at the recent Transatlantic-Partnership for Energy and Climate Change #PTECC21 Conference and third-ministerial (which I attended) on 28 September in Warsaw, were both pragmatic and ambitions.
My sincere thanks for the invitation to speak to our moderator Professor. Zbigniew Krysiak of  SGH University, Warsaw, and to the distinguished fellow panelists (listed above)

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