Since the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, Poland has strengthened nuclear security implementation and built up the global nuclear security architecture by:
1. Strengthening Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material Security
All the nuclear and radiological materials are subject to strict and continuous control. To fulfill its international obligations related to nuclear materials, Poland runs the State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Materials (SSAC), which significantly enhances the security of nuclear materials. Additionally, a register of radioactive sources is kept. The radioactive sources register contains data on more than 23,000 sources including spent sealed radioactive sources, information concerning their movement as well as related documents. In the years 2002-2015 the physical protection systems for a high active radioactive sources possessed by over 80 medical, research and other institutions were upgraded under the GTRI program.
In an effort to optimize the security of nuclear facilities in Poland, a special task-force group for developing proposals to strengthen the anti-terrorist security of the nuclear research reactor “Maria” in Świerk was established as a part of the Inter-ministerial Team for Terrorist Threats. The group formulated a number of recommendations aimed at improving the nuclear security of the reactor.
Moreover, the National Anti-terrorist Program has been adopted by the Government of Poland on 9 December 2014. Its priorities include – among others – objectives related to strengthening nuclear security against terrorist threats.
On 17-20 November 2015, “Patrol 2015”, an intensive operational exercise was conducted at the nuclear research reactor “Maria” facility in Świerk. It was organized by Europol, in cooperation with IAEA and with support of the Polish Police and the National Centre for the Nuclear Research. The overall goal was to improve preparedness of the CBRN experts and first responders to effectively react to incidents and emergencies involving radiological and nuclear materials. The scenario of the exercise included a terrorist attack against the facility.
2. Minimizing Nuclear and other Radioactive Materials
Under the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), Poland is about to complete the process of removing highly enriched uranium (HEU) spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from the nuclear research reactor “Maria” in Świerk.
In August 2014 the last HEU fuel element was unloaded from “Maria’s” core. From now on, it operates on LEU fuel solely. In September 2014, 44 SNF elements containing 10,4 kg of HEU were shipped to the radioactive waste disposal site, located in the Russian Federation. The last shipment (51 SNF elements containing 12,1 kg of HEU) is due to be completed in the second half of 2016.
Measures strengthening security of the Różan radioactive waste disposal site have been also recently applied. Process of selection of the new waste disposal site (due to total filling of the Różan capacity) will comply with the highest nuclear security standards, in accordance with IAEA recommendations.
3. Countering Nuclear Smuggling
In cooperation with the US Department of Energy, Polish Border Guard continued process of improving its counter-smuggling capabilities with regard to nuclear materials. A number of relevant trainings and exercises was conducted. Technical infrastructure of border-crossing points was also subject for improvement.
Poland will continue cooperation with external partners in strengthening national responses to the nuclear and radioactive smuggling. In this context, we welcome the initiative of Sweden to organize a conference in 2016 to discuss implementation of NSS commitments and objectives in the wider Black Sea region.
4. Supporting Multilateral Instruments
Poland already ratified all relevant international nuclear security conventions and is a member of international initiatives and mechanisms aimed at strengthening nuclear security and preventing illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.
We will continue to support universal application of all relevant international instruments.
5. Collaborating with International Organizations
Poland has committed itself to ensuring that the highest nuclear security standards are observed in the development of its peaceful nuclear power program. At the request of the Government of Poland, an international team of senior safety experts met with representatives of the National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) in 2013 to conduct an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission. The purpose of the mission was to examine Poland’s regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety, and its effectiveness. Based on the IRRS evaluation against the IAEA safety standards, the review team identified good practices as well as offered several recommendations and suggestions to be addressed by the PAA. As the result, the action plan has been developed and the recommendations of the mission are being implemented. In order to verify the process of implementation Poland will host IRRS follow-up mission in 2017.
After hosting the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) Workshop and Preparatory Meeting in 2015, the IPPAS Mission was conducted in Poland in February 2016. The recommendations and suggestions received from the Mission will strengthen national nuclear security regime.
In order to assure better compliance with the IAEA guidelines and recommendations, a national workshop on Design Basis Threat (DBT) implementation was held in Warsaw in September 2013. As a result of discussion conducted during the workshop, the series of high-level and working-level meetings of all interested Polish institutions were held and led to draft an amendment to the national security legal framework. It is foreseen that updated regulation related to the DBT will enter into force in 2017. Among the options suggested by the IAEA, approach of a single DBT covering all threats and potential targets in country has been chosen.
In the aftermath of IAEA’s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, hosted by Poland in March 2013, Poland prepared the National Action Plan to implement relevant recommendations and suggestions. This Plan has been approved and signed by the Minister of Economy in April 2014. It confirmed i.e. the Polish Nuclear Power Program to contain all necessary provisions on nuclear security. In May 2014, the IAEA representatives visited Poland to elaborate the Integrated Work Plan for INIR conclusions. The next INIR mission (so-called Follow-up mission) will take place in June 2016, with the aim to assess the level of compliance with the INIR mission recommendations and suggestions. At the same time it will look at Phase 2 of the development of the Polish nuclear power Program (using the “Milestone approach”) following the announcement of the technology tender by the investor/operator (“PGE EJ1 Ltd.”) at that time.
In addition, in October 2015 Council of Ministers adopted the National Plan for Management of Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel.