Legislation (legal and regulatory environment)

Preparation for the NPP construction, the process of its construction and then operation and decommissioning must fulfil the highest safety standards due to the potential global impact of that operation of such facility. Therefore the work related to the development of Polish legislation in this respect takes into account international law concerning nuclear power development.

The basic legal act passed by the Polish Parliament is the Atomic Law (Act of 29 November 2000). The Act establishes the framework for a nuclear power sector in Poland - from the beginning of preparations for the construction of a power plant to its shutdown and decommissioning. Provisions of the Atomic Law include a definition of conditions which must be fulfilled before the approval of the construction and commissioning of a nuclear power plant. It also sets the conditions for spent fuel management as well as principles for the fulfilment of international commitments, including on nuclear safety, protection against ionising radiation, security of nuclear materials and nuclear technology controls. Under the Act, the key criteria for all decisions and actions related to nuclear power are safety and radiological protection. Oversight of all matters related to nuclear power belongs to the President of the National Atomic Energy Agency (NAEA). The Atomic Law gives a detailed description of responsibilities and competence of the NAEA President.

Detailed principles and conditions of executing preparatory work and construction of the nuclear power plant are determined in the Act of 29 June 2011 on Preparing for and Performing Investments Involving Nuclear Power Facilities and Accompanying Investments. It includes the conditions for issuing a Location Permit as well as the conditions an investor must meet to obtain the title to the site where the plant is to be built. The terms of the Act also govern the distribution of revenue from the constructed nuclear power plant among the site commune and the neighbouring communes (in general terms, the host commune leaves half of the funds received in property taxes from the plant operator to be distributed among the neighbouring communes).

Detailed principles for the operation of NPPs are specified in the resolutions of the Council of Ministers, issued on the basis of the Atomic Law. One of the key documents is Regulation of 10 August 2012 on the detailed scope of assessment of the site intended for a nuclear facility, on the cases where such a site fails to meet the requirements for the location of a nuclear facility and on requirements for a site evaluation report. The Regulation specifies the terms and scope of site investigations related to the selection of an NPP construction site. The Regulation specifies in detail the characteristics of an area which eliminate it as a possible NPP site (also known as fatal flaws). It also lists elements to be included in the site evaluation report.