Poland will start the construction of its first nuclear power plant in 2026, the energy ministry said this week. The facility, with a capacity of 1.0-1.5 gigawatts, is expected to come online by 2033.

The country currently produces energy mainly from coal, which accounts for 80 percent of the total, the highest percentage in the European Union.

The plan is to cut that to 60 percent by 2030. The government is planning to have six operational nuclear blocks by 2040 as it aims to cut pollution by 30 percent compared to 1990 levels. However, nuclear power stations would account for only 10 percent of power exertion capacity by 2043.

Apart from pollution concerns, Poland is constantly seeking ways to wean itself off Russian coal and gas imports, but nuclear power plans have been frequently delayed. The Polish Nuclear Energy Program (PPEJ), first announced in January 2014, had planned that the first nuclear reactor would go online within 10 years.

PHOTO: The Belchatów power station is the EU’s biggest single emitter of CO2 emissions