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IAEA Reviews Poland’s Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development

Warsaw, Poland

INIR mission team leader Mehmet Ceyhan (right) presents the preliminary draft report to Miłosz Motyka, Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland, at the closing meeting on 25 April. (Photo: Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland)

Poland is making progress towards adding nuclear power to its energy mix, including in developing the necessary infrastructure for a safe and sustainable nuclear power programme, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review mission.

An IAEA team of experts today concluded an 11-day mission to Poland to review its infrastructure development for the Polish Nuclear Power Programme (PNPP). The PNPP was approved in January 2014 by the Polish Council of Ministers. The establishment of nuclear power is an objective of the Energy Policy of Poland until 2040, which sets the framework for the country’s energy transition to strengthen energy security and to reduce reliance on coal power plants to meet climate goals. In 2022, the Polish Government announced that the country’s first nuclear power plant will be comprised of three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, and it expects the first unit to be commissioned in 2033.

The Phase 2 Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) was carried out from 15 to 25 April, at the invitation of the Government of Poland, and hosted by the Ministry of Climate and Environment. The team reviewed the status of 19 nuclear infrastructure issues using the IAEA evaluation methodology for Phase 2 of the Milestones Approach, which evaluates the readiness of a country to invite bids or negotiate a contract for the first nuclear power plant.

Prior to the Phase 2 INIR mission, Poland prepared a self-evaluation report covering all 19 nuclear power infrastructure issues and submitted the report and supporting documents to the IAEA. The team comprised of three experts from Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as seven IAEA staff.

The team identified good practices that would benefit other countries developing nuclear power in the areas of contracting approach, strategic approach to funding, early authorization of technical support organizations to support the nuclear regulator, engagement with the electrical grid operator, stakeholder involvement and industrial involvement.

“The Polish nuclear power programme was initiated with clear objectives and is progressing towards the construction stage in a structured way,” said mission team leader Mehmet Ceyhan, Technical Lead of the IAEA Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section. “We observed strong and dedicated teams in each of the key organizations that will help to achieve the government’s objectives for the PNPP.”

The team also made recommendations and suggestions aimed at assisting Poland in making further progress in the development of its nuclear infrastructure and its readiness to build the first nuclear power plant in the country. The team highlighted areas where further actions would benefit Poland, including the need to further review its legal and regulatory framework, and finalize the preparatory work required for the contracting and construction stages.

“Poland's cooperation with the IAEA is a long-term collaboration, and the review mission is extremely valuable and beneficial for the implementation and execution of the Polish Nuclear Power Programme. We would like to thank the Agency's experts for their commitment, professionalism and valuable opinions provided during the Phase 2 INIR mission. The conclusions we drew after talks with the Agency's experts will allow us to improve the implementation of the Polish Nuclear Power Programme,” said Miłosz Motyka, Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland.

Based on the outcomes of the INIR mission, the IAEA and Poland will update their Integrated Workplan to continue providing coordinated support in line with the future development of the country's nuclear power programme.

In September 2023, Poland also hosted an IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service mission, which found that Poland’s nuclear regulatory framework is in line with IAEA safety standards and that its regulatory body is competent and prepared for the launch of the country’s nuclear power programme.

About INIR Missions

INIR missions are based on the IAEA Milestones Approach, with its 19 infrastructure issues, three phases (consider, prepare and construct) and three milestones (decide, contract and commission/operate). INIR missions enable IAEA Member State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about experiences and best practices in different countries.

In developing its recommendations, the INIR team considers the comments made by the relevant national organizations. Implementation of any of the team's recommendations and suggestions is at the discretion of the Member State requesting the mission. The results of the INIR mission are expected to help the Member State develop an action plan to fill any gaps, which in turn will help the development of the national nuclear infrastructure. INIR follow-up missions assess the implementation of the recommendations and suggestions provided during the main mission.

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