Safety analysis confirmed for Poland’s first NPP

15 June 2023

The President of Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA - Panstwowa Agencja Atomistyki) has issued a general opinion on the safety analysis of the Poland’s first planned NPP. PAA determined that the scope of the planned, independent verification of safety analyses presented in state-owned Polish utility Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe's (PEJ's) application was correct.

Poland has ambitious nuclear power development plans. 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 to reduce its reliance on coal. Construction of the first 1.0-1.6 GWe plant was expected to start in 2026 for commissioning in 2033. Subsequent units will be implemented every 2-3 years. The towns of Lubiatowo and Kopalino in Choczewo municipality in the province of Pomerania were named as the preferred location for the first plant. In November 2022, the government announced the first plant, with a capacity of 3,750 MWe, would be built in Pomerania using US Westinghouse AP1000 technology. An agreement outlining a plan for delivery of the plant was signed in May by Westinghouse, Bechtel and PEJ.

PEJ applied to PAA in September 2022 (supplemented by a letter in March 2023) for a general opinion on the draft document to be submitted with the application for a permit in line with the Atomic Law Act and the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of August 2021. According to the Atomic Law Act, before applying to the PAA President for a licence to build a nuclear facility, the investor must conduct a safety analysis taking into account technical and environmental factors, and submit them for verification.

PAA said the general opinion of the PAA President “is a tool for dialogue between the nuclear regulator and the applicant (investor). 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 said obtaining the general opinion from PAA was “another step towards obtaining all legal administrative approvals for the first large-scale nuclear power plant in the country”. Anna Lukaszewska-Trzeciakowska, Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, said the positive opinion “shows that we are consistently moving forward in the implementation of the Polish nuclear energy programme”. She added: “The first positive application of this type confirms at the same time that in these most important issues, including primarily security, we will comply with the most demanding standards.”

Lukasz Mlynarkiewicz, President of the PEJ Management Board of said the opinion “confirms the high quality of our work and allows us to move on to further tasks, so that the NPP in Pomerania is a completely safe facility”.

The analyses presented in PEJ's application encompassed both deterministic analyses (how a nuclear reactor will behave in even the most improbable situations), probabilistic analyses (which determine the strengths and weaknesses of a given system or installation), and an assessment of the probability of various events and their consequences.

Image: Illustrative visualisation of the nuclear reactor for Poland's first nuclear power plant (courtesy of PEJ)

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