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WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Poland's government has welcomed plans by a top businessman to build what would be the nation's first nuclear power plant and help reduce dependence on coal.

The Energy Ministry commented Tuesday on a memorandum of understanding that Poland's firm Synthos SA signed this week with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to cooperate on the construction of a 300 MW small modular reactor in Poland by 2029.

Synthos co-owner Michal Solowow said his goal was to supply clean and safe energy at a time when Poland should be cutting coal, a polluting fuel from which the country gets 80% of its energy.

The ministry said small reactors could contribute energy for industrial use, but stressed the government still wants to build reactors of up to 9,000 MW by 2040.