International Expert Team Concludes IAEA Peer Review of Poland's Regulatory Framework for Nuclear and Radiation Safety

2013/04
Warsaw, Poland

International safety experts last week concluded a two-week International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission to review the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Poland.

In its preliminary report, the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission team found that Poland's nuclear regulator, Państwowa Agencja Atomistyki (PAA), has a clear commitment to safety, a high level of transparency, competent staff and leadership, and a good recognition of challenges ahead related to Poland's efforts to develop nuclear power.

"Poland's regulatory framework and the work of PAA give high confidence of strong radiation protection for the Polish people. Further, there has been significant progress in the development of Poland's regulatory framework in preparation for the challenge of regulating nuclear power," said team leader Robert Lewis, a senior executive in the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The mission was conducted at the request of the Government of Poland from 15-25 April. The team was made up of 11 regulatory experts from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, the Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as five IAEA staff members.

"The IRRS review team was very thorough in its review, and we welcome its advice on how to continue to improve our programmes to protect people and the environment," said Janusz Włodarski, President of PAA.

The team interviewed members of PAA and officials from various ministries, as well as key players in the Polish safety framework. Such IRRS missions are peer reviews based on IAEA Safety Standards, not inspections or audits.

Among its main observations the IRRS review team identified the following good practices:

  • Applying the considerable experience of PAA's senior management to regulatory issues;
  • The introduction of changes to Poland's laws and regulations following broad public consultation at an early stage in the development of the nuclear power programme; and
  • PAA's proactive approach to coordination with Poland's Office of Technical Inspection.

The IRRS team made several recommendations and suggestions for PAA as it grows in the next few years, facing challenges and increasing demands as its nuclear power programme expands.

To position PAA to address its growth, additional responsibilities, and the retirement of many senior managers, and to maintain its strong focus on safety for currently regulated facilities and activities, the IRRS team advised PAA to:

  • Establish and frequently review that there is a clear link between PAA's organizational goals and objectives, and resource planning, such as staffing and strategies for external support;
  • Consider strengthening and documenting PAA's management system; and
  • Develop and strengthen internal guidance to document authorization processes, review, assessment and inspection procedures.

In its preliminary report, the IAEA team's main conclusions have been conveyed to PAA. A final report will be submitted to the Government of Poland in about three months. PAA has informed the team that the final report will be made publicly available. The IAEA encourages nations to invite a follow-up IRRS mission about two years after the mission has been completed.

Background

The team reviewed the legal and regulatory framework for nuclear safety and addressed all facilities regulated by PAA. This was the 46th IRRS mission conducted by the IAEA.

About IRRS Missions

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure of States, while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in this area.

This is done through consideration of regulatory, technical and policy issues, with comparisons against IAEA safety standards and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere.

More information about IRRS missions is available on the IAEA Website.

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Last update: 18 November 2014