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Poland Progresses in Developing Infrastructure for its Nuclear Power Programme, IAEA Review Concludes

Józef Sobolewski, Director of Nuclear Energy Department in Poland’s Ministry of Energy, during discussions with the INIR follow-up mission team in Warsaw, 21 June 2016. (Photo: J. Strojny/Ministry of Energy, Poland)

Poland has implemented all the recommendations and suggestions of a 2013 IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, a team of experts concluded last week. In addition, the experts found that Poland is already implementing many of the actions that are expected for the next phase of developing its nuclear power programme.

"Poland is taking all the necessary measures to ensure that our nuclear power programme meet the highest standards of safety and security and the best international practices,” said Józef Sobolewski, Director of the Nuclear Energy Department in Poland’s Ministry of Energy.

The team, made up of IAEA and international experts, conducted an INIR follow-up mission from 21 to 23 of June 2016 to assess Poland’s progress in its infrastructure development activities. The 2013 INIR mission had provided five recommendations and six suggestions for concluding Phase 1 of nuclear infrastructure development, as specified in the IAEA Milestones approach.

“We believe that implementing the programme in an open and transparent manner is essential for building trust in our society and the international community,” Sobolewski added. “We are actively preparing for the next phase of the programme and are considering inviting an INIR Phase 2 mission in 2017.”

The main achievements identified by the expert team were:

  • The Council of Ministers adopted the updated Polish Nuclear Power Programme in 2014, which shows Poland’s commitment to safety, security and non-proliferation and also includes policies on radiological protection, energy security and waste management;
  • Poland has facilitated and strengthened the coordination among the main actors, which are the Ministry of Energy, the regulatory body and the future owner/operator, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A., with due respect to the regulatory body’s independence;
  • it has invested efforts and financial resources in human resource development, training and equipment purchase to identify the needs of the main stakeholders and to strengthen emergency preparedness and response;
  • it has enhanced its mechanisms so that all entities dedicated to safeguards and handling of nuclear materials understand their obligations under the comprehensive safeguards agreement and the additional protocol;
  • A revision of the Atomic Law, addressing security and non-proliferation issues, has been submitted to the parliament.

Leading the INIR mission team, José Bastos, from the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, confirmed that IAEA will continue to assist Poland in developing its nuclear power infrastructure.

“The IAEA and Poland will jointly update the country’s integrated work plan to support the next phase of their programme,” he said.

Poland is highly dependent on coal, which provides about 80% of the country's electricity generation. In 2009, the government decided to launch a nuclear power programme with about 3000 MWe capacity as a first step, to help diversify the country’s energy resources and limit their impact on the environment. Two potential sites are under consideration for the planned nuclear power plant: Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Zarnowiec.