IAEA team applauds Poland's progress with nuclear program

04 July 2016

Poland is "taking all the necessary measures" to ensure its nuclear power program meets the highest standards of safety and security and best international practice, Józef Sobolewski, director of the nuclear energy department of the country's Ministry of Energy, has said. Sobolewski's comments followed the conclusion of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Poland has implemented all the recommendations and suggestions of a 2013 Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission.

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 program 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.

The Vienna-based agency said on 1 July that the INIR team had found Poland is "already implementing many of the actions that are expected for the next phase of developing its nuclear power program".

The team, made up of IAEA and international experts, conducted an INIR follow-up mission between 21 and 23 June 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.

According to the IAEA statement, Sobolewski said: "We believe that implementing the program in an open and transparent manner is essential for building trust in our society and the international community. We are actively preparing for the next phase of the program and are considering inviting an INIR Phase 2 mission in 2017."

The INIR team noted that Poland's Council of Ministers had adopted the updated Polish Nuclear Power Program 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 also "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," the team added.

The country 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 said.

Poland has also "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", it added.

In addition, 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.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News