PAA President confirms safety anaylsis for Pomerania plant

13 June 2023

The president of Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency (Panstwowa Agencja Atomistyki, PAA) has issued a general opinion on the safety analysis of the country's first planned nuclear power plant. The scope of the planned, independent verification of safety analyses presented in Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe's (PEJ's) application was deemed to be correct.

How the plant in Pomerania could look (Image: PEJ)

In order to obtain a permit for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Poland, the applicant must present an analysis confirming the safety of the design - and also secure independent verification of the analysis. Safety analyses are part of the nuclear facility safety assessment process, performed initially at the design stage and then continuing on into the operation of a nuclear facility. Their aim is to ensure that all nuclear safety requirements will be met from the start to the end of operation.

The PAA noted that a general opinion from its president "is a tool for dialogue between the nuclear regulator and the applicant". It said that in the process to obtain a construction licence, "obtaining a general opinion of the PAA President is not necessary, and the scope of this opinion depends on the applicant".

PEJ applied to the president of the PAA in September last year for a general opinion on the draft document to be submitted with the application for a construction permit. The document provides a description (scope and detail) of independent verification of security analyses in terms of compliance with the requirements of the Atomic Law Act.

The analyses presented in PEJ's application encompassed both deterministic analyses, that is the manner in which a nuclear reactor will behave in various, even the most improbable, situations, and the so-called probabilistic analyses, which allow to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a given system or installation, along with an assessment of the probability of various events and their consequences.

Based on PEJ's application, the PAA President has now evaluated the proposed description (scope and level of detail) of the verification, taking into account both domestic and international nuclear safety requirements. In the opinion issued, the PAA President assessed that the description of the independent verification of safety analyses correctly identified the main components of the safety analyses of a nuclear facility.

PEJ noted: "This is the first opinion of this kind in Poland in the area of nuclear safety ... This is another step toward obtaining all the administrative approvals required by law for the country's first large-scale nuclear power plant."

"Obtaining the construction of a nuclear power plant is one of the most complicated, complex infrastructure investment projects in the world," said Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska, Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure. "It is a process spread over years, requiring many steps - giant leaps and small efforts, which together will add up to success. The first successfully verified application of such type confirms at the same time that we will adhere to the most demanding standards in these most important issues, including, above all, safety."

"In the nuclear industry, safety is a top priority, and the investment project we are executing is no different," said Łukasz Młynarkiewicz, acting president of PEJ. "From the very beginning, we have been very conscientious about safety issues. The determination by the National Atomic Energy Agency that the scope and the detail level of the planned independent verification of safety analyses are correct confirms the high quality of the work we have done, and allows us to move on to the next tasks, so that the nuclear power plant in Pomerania be a fully safe facility."

Poland currently has large-scale plans to develop nuclear energy capacity. In September 2021, it was announced that six large pressurised water reactors with a combined installed capacity of 6-9 GWe could be built by 2040 as part of the country's plan to reduce its reliance on coal. According to the adopted schedule, the construction of the first nuclear power plant will start in 2026, with the first reactor - with a capacity of 1.0-1.6 GWe - being commissioned in 2033. Subsequent units will be implemented every 2-3 years. The coastal towns of Lubiatowo and Kopalino in Poland's Choczewo municipality in the province of Pomerania were named as the preferred location for the country's first large nuclear power plant.

In November 2022, the Polish government announced the first plant, with a capacity of 3750 MWe, will be built in Pomerania using AP1000 technology from the US company Westinghouse. An agreement setting a plan for the delivery of the plant was signed last month by Westinghouse, Bechtel and PEJ.

ZE PAK, Polska Grupa Energetyczna and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on a nuclear power plant project in Patnow, in central Poland, assessing the viability of building South Korean APR1400 reactors on the site.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News