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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 16, 2009
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Nuclear Merger on the Agenda
September 16, 2009   
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The government is thinking of merging two institutes dealing with atomic energy to establish a single Institute for Nuclear Research in 安ierk near Warsaw.

The Institute for Nuclear Research would be established through a merger of the A. So速an Institute for Nuclear Studies (IPJ) and the POLATOM Institute of Atomic Energy (IPA), said Hanna Trojanowska, the government's commissioner for nuclear power engineering.

Trojanowska met with researchers and industry professionals in 安ierk in early June to talk about the need to develop modern research facilities for the nuclear energy sector. Other topics included training programs for staff and the need to carry out a large-scale public awareness campaign to put in a plug for the government's nuclear energy program.

The Institute for Nuclear Research would be home to state-of-the-art research equipment, including the POLFEL Free Electron Laser and a helium loop used for research on high-temperature reactors. This equipment, purchased for funds from European Union coffers, would be used not only by physicists, but also by researchers and engineers in other fields of study, experts say.

Today the Astrophysical Apparatus Laboratory of the Institute for Nuclear Studies holds research devices such as those used in the "Pi of the Sky" project that yielded the world's first "film" from the birth of a black hole. The equipment had been designed and built at the laboratory.

The Institute of Atomic Energy includes facilities such as a "hot chamber laboratory" with stations for monitoring and examining radioactive materials. The institute's PolAtom Radioisotope Center features a production line that meets most of the domestic demand for radiopharmaceuticals, according to the institute's director, Prof. Krzysztof Wieteska.

"The two institutes have enormous potential for development," said Prof. Grzegorz Wrochna, director of the Institute for Nuclear Studies. "The Institute for Nuclear Studies is a top Polish research facility according to the Hirsch index."

The facilities in 安ierk have survived even though funding for nuclear research was radically cut in the 1980s after decision makers abandoned a plan to build a nuclear power plant in 畝rnowiec in the north of the country. According to Wrochna, 安ierk has survived all those difficult years thanks to the passion of its scientists and continuing cooperation with the best research centers in Europe and beyond.

Yes to Nuclear Power
Under a long-term energy policy drawn up by the economy ministry, the Polish government is determined to press ahead with a nuclear power program. Early this year it approved a resolution whereby Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) energy corporation will build one or two nuclear power plants in the country by 2020.
In terms of legal regulations, Poland is prepared for the development of nuclear power engineering, experts say. The public's attitude to nuclear power is also changing. Surveys show growing support for a nuclear power program in Poland now that memories of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in neighboring Ukraine have faded.
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