WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will pursue its plan to build the country's first nuclear power station, a government member said on Monday, playing down suggestions from commentators that the 50 billion zlotys ($15.8 billion) investment might be scrapped.
The nuclear program, run by Poland's top utility PGE, was not mentioned in Prime Minister Donald Tusk's policy speech on Friday, which enumerated a number of planned investments in infrastructure to boost a slowing economy.
The government's plan for the power sector assumes spending around 60 billion zlotys by the end of the decade on eight new power units in Turow, Opole, Pulawy, Blachownia, Stalowa Wola, Jaworzno, Kozienice and Wloclawek.
"There will be an additional 50 billion zlotys on the power station, but this investment decision, the choice of technology, this will come only in 2015," Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski told broadcaster TVP Info.
He added the company managing the nuclear project has just started to seek a location for the power station, a process which should end in 2015 as well.
European Union member Poland wants to develop nuclear power to reduce its dependence on highly polluting coal. It aims to launch a 3 gigawatt nuclear plant by 2023 and double that capacity by 2030.
U.S.-Japanese group GE Hitachi, France's Areva and Westinghouse, a U.S. unit of Japan's Toshiba, have all signaled interest in supplying technology for the project. ($1 = 3.1588 Polish zlotys)
(Reporting by Maciej Onoszko; editing by Keiron Henderson)