Energy 31 July, 2023 7:25 am   
COMMENTS: Jacek Perzyński

Poland plans to build a radioactive waste landfill for its own needs

Pręty paliwowe fot Pixabay Nuclear fuel rods. Photo. Pixabay

Poland is planning to build a surface landfill for radioactive waste, which is to be ready by the time the new NPP launches. The National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) said a deep storage facility would also be built. Importantly, the plans do not take into account SMRs and MMRs.

Nuclear power is gaining a growing following as a cheap and clean source of energy. On top of that, atomic power offers stability which is extremely important to ensure stable energy supply. While the “atomic fever” continues in Poland, the issue of radioactive waste disposal does not appear in the public discussion, and this, unfortunately, is an inherent defect of nuclear energy.

The “National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel” was updated in 2020. The Agency explained that the objective of the plan is to implement a nationwide integrated management system covering all categories of radioactive waste.

It provides for the “construction of a surface storage facility for short-lived low-and medium-activity radioactive waste to be put into operation at the time of commissioning of a nuclear power plant. It is also planned to build a deep storage facility,” the National Atomic Energy Agency explained.

“The national plan estimates the amount of radioactive waste that will be destined for storage in surface and deep landfills. These estimates do not take into account the radioactive waste generated from small modular reactors (SMR) and micro modular reactors (MMR),” the Agency said.

The agency assessed that “storing waste ( … ) in deep geological structures is the safest ( … ) option,” adding that there was no such landfill in Poland. According to PAA, the most advanced work on the construction of a deep landfill is carried out by: France (Cigeo project), Finland (Onkalo) and Sweden (Forsmark).

According to the resolution, the construction of a new surface radioactive waste landfill (NSPOP) is planned for the years 2028-2032. The plan is to obtain a use permit and a operation permit for the years 2031-2032, and operation for the period 2033-2152. The closure of the surface landfill is expected in the years 2153-2163.

According to PAA, Poland has the right conditions for the construction of a deep landfill. “The analysis (…) showed that for the purpose of deep storage of radioactive waste, due to the properties ( … ), three types of rock formations are suitable: rock salt deposits of the Polish Plain, claystones of the Fore-Sudetic Monocline and igneous and metamorphic rocks of north-eastern Poland,” the PAA said, noting that the development of the Polish Nuclear Energy Program (PPEJ) “requires a re – verification of the geological structure of the country for the construction and operation of radioactive waste sites.”

Interestingly, currently in Poland there is one surface landfill, which has been operating since 1961 in the village of Różan by the Narew river at a distance of approx. 90 km north-east of Warsaw. It has the status of a National Radioactive Waste Repository (KSOP). It is located on the territory of a former military fort and covers an area of 3,045 hectares.

It is worth mentioning that the atom is to be the foundation of the Polish energy mix and replace coal. The Polish Nuclear Energy Program envisages the construction of the first reactor in 2033 and 6-9 GW in 2043. The first is to be built in Pomerania at the Lubiatowo-Kopalino location using AP1000 technology from the American Westinghouse.

Polish Press Agency / Jacek Perzyński