Andrzej Strupczewski

Chairman of Nuclear Safety Commission

National Center for Nuclear Research

June 28, 2021

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Ep 319: Andrzej Strupczewski - Chairman of Nuclear Safety Commission, National Center for Nuclear Research
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Jadwiga Najder
Andrzej Strupczewski is with us, I'm very happy that you could join us in the Titans of Nuclear podcast.

Andrzej Strupczewski
I am happy to be here with you to and have a chance to speak to the listeners about nuclear power and maybe about nuclear power in Poland, too.

Jadwiga Najder
Yes, exactly, I am very happy that we were able to invite a very renowned Polish professor. You are in fact the first Polish person that is living on everyday basis in Poland that we are able to host, so I am very, very happy that we can have you here. And could you start maybe from telling us how did you decide to become a nuclear scientist in the first place?

Andrzej Strupczewski
Well, at the time when I was starting my studies at Politechnika Warszawska, nuclear power was something absolutely new. I was in the group of the first five people who started to study nuclear engineering. Actually, it was a competition to be in this small group. And I was lucky enough to be among them. So, I finished my studies in 1959 and started my work in 1960 at the Institute of Atomic Research. At the time, we were making the design of the Maria reactor, which at the time was thought to be necessary, because what we had was Ewa reactor provided by Russia and it was a reactor of low power, just two megawatts, which was very precious for us for studies of physics and some production of radioisotopes, but evidently, its power was not sufficient. Actually, I had the chance to be in the group of people, who were led by very, very good engineers, who started to increase the power of Ewa reactor and they brought this power up to eight megawatts, after which I took over and made the some experiments in the core of Ewa reactor, starting with possible accidents in this reactor, so as to be sure that the reactor is quite safe. Actually, the worst accident that could happen in such a reactor - it was a pool reactor - was the loss of flow of coolant. We started by first of all checking the temperature distribution in normal state and finding what is the safety boundary into boiling on the surface of the fuel elements. It was done with an instrumented fuel element, three are pure elements, which are pure in real core the reactor and then we started status with loss of flow, including temperatures in power levels which were much higher than the actual power level allowed for Ewa. Ewa, as I said, worked at eight megawatts. We went to 9, 10, 11, and 12 megawatts and we started the case of losing one, two, or three pumps in the primary circuit. And we proved that after losing all three pumps suddenly, the reactor remains safe and could manage without any problems, without boiling on the surface of the fuel elements. We had raised the power of the reactor - actually, it was not raised to 12, it was safe to 10 - but it was clear that there is a safety margin, and when later on it was necessary to reduce the flow of coolant, we did it without reducing the power, so Ewa operated at 10 megawatts. After this I took over the startup procedures for the Maria reactor. For Maria, I made this full set of shielding calculations and then I was the leader of the Safety Analysis Report, which was done in time and then I became the head of start-up of Maria. It started operation in '74, reached full power in '75, and since then, it has been operating very well. It is among five of the most, let's say, powerful and available for various purposes reactors in the world.

Jadwiga Najder
Yeah, exactly. Maria reactor is quite versatile, right? What is it actually used for? What is it exactly used for in all the activities of a research reactor possible?

Andrzej Strupczewski
Well, you mean the Maria reactor?

Jadwiga Najder
Yes.

Andrzej Strupczewski
Mario reactor is used, first of all, for the production of radioisotopes. Among them, well, it provides radioisotopes for the whole of Poland and for some other countries to export them. And also it is used for physics experiments. We have horizontal channels for physics, and it was meant as a multi-purpose reactor, which would be used also for studies of materials and elements of future nuclear power plants. We made two series of experiments. One was the experiments with a new coolant, which was proposed by Russia, at the time. It was before 1980. We made step loops and rigs in the reactor and actually the program was very successful not in the sense that we prove that everything is fine. No, contrarily. We proved that everything is wrong, because this kind of coolant which was there would coagulate in the reactor and make an elastic mass which would completely block the flow. It could not be used under conditions of radiation and high fluxes, high thermal fluxes. And so the choice of this specific coolant was rejected and all experiments in these reactions were stopped. So, it was a success for the reactor, for other reactors, for people who made the experiments. Actually, they were quite difficult. But of course, for the program, it was a blow and they had to give up this kind of coolant. The other program was aimed at studying the behavior of fuel elements in PWRs in the case of maximum accidents, which could happen in PWR, and this maximum accident - I don't know if you're aware of this - is something very specific. Since we fear that we can lose coolant in the core, we think that the maximum accident is when there is a guillotine break in the primary cooling system in such a way that two sides of the piping are completely separated and from each side, the coolant flows out at full speed at full pressure of 170 atmospheres, for example, so with enormous strength, it flows out and their core is left open without coolant. We had to make studies for this experiment, and everything was difficult to work in view of the necessary Safety Analysis. Of course, we didn't want to have a real accident with which coolant split with fuel, melt down and spilled in the whole reactor. So we had to make special precautions, but these precautions were taken. The fuel was provided by Russia. The instrumentation of very high class was provided by Finland. They were in this undertaking, and everything was ready. And when everything was ready, at that moment, Poland decided to stop the nuclear power program. After that, we went to Russia and proposed them that if they pay enough, we can run the series of experiments at their expense. And they were quite positive about it. The Finns also said, Yes, we shall. It was a question if they pay in rubles, in dollars, or in diamonds, or whatever. We got to some agreements and when we were coming by train back from Russia, from Moscow, there was information that Soviet Union ceased to exist. Now it is Russia, and any agreements are of no value. And so it was the end of our program of studying maximum accidents in PWRs.

But for me, actually, it was fortunate because the agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, there was a competition for two positions in the special section, which dealt with safety of reactors, and there were 2000 candidates. I was lucky to be one of the two chosen. I went there and stayed there for five years or so. After that, I was an expert of the Agency, and also an expert of the European Commission, and went on many, many missions to various countries to check the safety of reactors. On the whole, I visited - I counted it yesterday, in my memory - thirty-three countries and made some 40 missions to reactors for analysis and so on. The most, let's say, effective analyses were done for Mochovce in Slovak Republic. Actually, Mochovce Unit One and Two had the same design as Zarnowiec in Poland, Zarnowiec, which unfortunately had been built up to some point and then the construction was stopped because of political decisions. So Mochovce was similar, and International Atomic Energy Agency appointed me the head of the group of experts who would go to Mochovce and check the status of the safety of the plant. The way sub-groups are constituted is something which we should know, I think. First of all, the leader makes a Safety Analysis upon the data which he has. I did it, some 200 pages or so. Then I invited 10 experts from various countries - France, USA, UK, and so on - they came to here. Now, we worked together for one week to specify what we wanted to learn, then we went to Mochovce and worked for three weeks at Mochovce, from eight o'clock in the morning till 10 o'clock in the evening - with breaks for meals, of course -and with the participation of some 20 experts from the Slovak side. After this three weeks, we had the report on the safety of Mochovce, in which we had some 30 or 35 issues specified in which Mochovce should do something. So I sent this report to Mochovce. After one month, they sent it back saying yes, they agree, and they did, they agreed. And they said that, since the experts of the agency chosen from all countries decided that something should be improved, the Slovaks said, Okay, we shall improve it. And they made improvements, and Mochovce One and Two went into operation in 1999, after the second mission, which I also had the honor to preside and to organize. In 1999, we checked that all points were fulfilled, or could be fulfilled within half a year, because they are not so important, and they really did it. You'll see the agency treats, approaches such questions of safety checking in a very serious way. And it is really a lot of work, which is first of all done by experts chosen by the agency, but also reviewed and agreed on by the hosts, in this case, Slovaks. But I had such missions to Ukraine, to Hungary, to Czech Republic, and so on, so on, many, many of them. And in each case, the studies were very, very careful. In some countries, we didn't make missions to check safety of nuclear power plants, for example to China, where we had a seminar of one week teaching Chinese people how to deal with emergency situations, namely how to introduce new kinds of instructions for the operator. Here, I think it would be good to know that in previous practice of nuclear power, the operator operated or worked in the in the contract room. And if he saw that some indication is off the scale or wrong scale, he would have to decide what was the reason for this. Is it a valve which is not working? Or is it a pipe which is broken? Or is it something else? And he would guess, right or wrong, and act accordingly.

However, after TMI, Three Mile Island accident in the US, American industry decided that this is not the right way to approach problems, how to approach the problems of accidents. I remember Mr. Frederick, who actually was the head operator during TMI accident, telling us in a big room in a symposium in Italy, Look, I like to give engineers problems, and they have to devise the way of solution. They usually take the problem, they love it, they love this word, they take the problem with them home, and after a week or two, they come back and say it is this and this accident, you should act such and such. But actually, in the nuclear power plant, you don't have two weeks, you have you seconds, you have red lights which go on. You have people asking you and you have the responsibility of running this 1,000 megawatt unit which should provide electricity. So you are acting under great stress. Within a very short time, you must make decisions. Americans decided that they must make a different way of dealing with it. They devised, and they implemented, in the '90s, in the late '90s, the system known as symptom-oriented procedures, that is to see the temperature's going up, you will open the book on the operating temperature up in point one, and here, look what you should do. And they tell you, Do this and this with the pump number three, You do it with pump number three and if you look for the result. If the result is okay, wonderful. If it is not okay, look at the instruction again. And so you don't guess what is the reason. You have the book of instructions based on symptoms, symptoms which are visible in the control room. This system was gradually introduced outside USA. I was heading this work in Bulgaria, in Kozloduy Units Three and Four, and later on I went to China with a team of experts, two experts. One was from Norway and an expert on electronics, and the other on human behavior from France. We were giving them one week lectures about dealing with EPR accidents and accidents at nuclear power plants. Apparently, the work was well done, because I have not heard about any EPR accidents in China. Maybe they learned something. Anyway, they were very, very diligent students, I must say, and they wanted to learn. This work which I was doing made it possible to learn a lot about nuclear power plants.

I was in Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia, for example, working as an expert for the European Commission. I was checking whether the improvements which should be done were really implemented. Actually - again, this is an interesting aspect of international cooperation, namely - we, that is nuclear community in the West were worried that another Chernobyl can happen or another accident can happen. And so European Union provided very significant help, financial help, to Russia, Ukraine, and Romania, which were classified as CIS countries, Commonwealth of Independent States, they said. But simply former Russian. This forced them together, went to some amount of money. And for this money, European Union financed improvements, one, two or three improvements in each nuclear power plant. I went there after several years of this program, empowered by European Union to track what is the result, to propose improvements, and to check if we should pay on or not. Generally, they were implementing all the things quite well and we had very good cooperation with the Russians, Ukrainians. In Ukraine, I asked one of the Ukrainians directly in Russian - because my Russian was fluent the time I asked him - why do you buy valves such as these, which are indicated by European Union? And his answer was, Because I have never in my life seen a valve as good as that which was provided by the Union. Okay, so they were, actually, now - let's see it in the proper light - European Union was not a good uncle which gives money to the right to the left.

Actually, what we were doing in European Union - in the commission, I mean - it was a program called TACIS, Technical Assistance to CIS. In this program, TACIS was providing one improvement. For example, one excellent pump, or one excellent set of valves - not one valve, but one set of valves. And then we said that Russia or Ukraine should buy other pumps or other set of valves of the same class and install it. It was a good business. It was good business. European Union did not lose much, but on the whole, transferred about $1 billion to Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia. It was not only money. In each nuclear power plant, there was an expert which was very competent in this type of reactor and he would advise people on spot, what to do, what to buy, and how to improve the operation. For example, when I was in Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant - they were RBMK reactors with graphite - the resident there was a UK expert who had many, many years long of experience with graphite reactors in UK. When I was in Ukrainian reactors, with water, pressurized water, there were French experts from French pressurized water reactors, and so on, so on. Some of these experts were very good, learned Russian fluently, and had excellent relationships with Russians, including eating together lunches and things like that. Some of them were different and not speaking Russian, used translators, lived not inside the nuclear power plant, but outside and had to ask on the writing, ask permission to enter the plant and so on. And then the cooperation went much worse. But generally, the cooperation was very successful and it was at the time when Russia was really poor, and was in bad economic conditions. Nowadays, I'm not aware how it goes, but I think that the conditions are decidedly different. Anyway, so it was continued until 2006 or 2007, I believe, that I worked in this capacity.

Jadwiga Najder
Just a question here. As for these two programs - the European Commission one and IAEA - for both of them, what would happen if the countries stopped complying? For example, you delivered the Safety Analysis and they would not implement the changes. Are there any binding consequences, especially from the side of IAEA?

Andrzej Strupczewski
Well, all countries which belong to the International Atomic Energy Agency - and it is 130 countries, I believe - not all of them have nuclear power. Many of them have just nuclear reactors or use radioisotopes. All these countries want to submit safety reports and to follow the indications of the agency. The classical example is the position of Slovak Republic, which received our reports and said, Yes, since the agency said that we should change it, we shall change it. It's reasonable, it's for our good. What if a country refused? Well, the responsibility for safety in each and every case remains with that country, and the agency cannot dictate or send police or send army, though press on the contract, if they must do something. However, we have meetings every four years or so and in these meetings, every country which has nuclear power plant submits a large report of compliance and top improvements with the rules they made within the period of the last four years. It includes analysis of safety of the reactor, of the radioisotope production, utilization, and so on. Each country wants to reach consensus and approval of the others, of peers. We have such reports, which are available to all members, and they really show the actual status of the situation in our country. I think that there is a lot of goodwill, and nobody really wants to violate the rules.

Jadwiga Najder
Yes, I guess everybody is aware that the problem in one of the power plants is actually the problem for all the industry globally, we can say. I can imagine that everybody tries to comply.

Andrzej Strupczewski
I must add, there are some countries which do not belong to the Agency, have not submitted their facilities to control of the Agency, for example, Israel. And well, it's their job in their country and their responsibility and decision. But of course, they don't get any support from the Agency and everybody knows that they do not follow the rules. Are there is thousands of these? Do they have nuclear weapons? Don't they have-nobody knows? And as far as I'm concerned, I shall not speak about it, because I think that nobody knows, really.

Jadwiga Najder
Yes, yes, I understand. And let's maybe switch the topic, just a tiny little bit. I'm wondering about the plant safety, as you were saying so much about the compliance of the of the power plants. And I understand that in the last decades of the 20th century, it was very important to develop the safety as there were different accidents that were showing the holes in the safety case of the power plants. Right now, in the 21st century, there is a little bit of this feeling that we are reaching the asymptotic moment, that more and more effort is put into the safety with less and less effect. Do you agree with that?

Andrzej Strupczewski
Well, yeah, of course. Well, let's say, first of all, I mean, simply because, when you reach near perfection, the last 1% is much more difficult to achieve than the previous 20 or 30%. But let us start a moment with the safety of the reactors of the second generation. I mean, the second generation was built assuming that we shall deal with all accidents which can be initiated by human error, one human error, or by a single failure of any piece of equipment, such as pump, valve, and so on. Or it can be so that we have the worst set of conditions, then we have a failure of one mechanical element or electrical element, and then we have one human error, but that's all. And under such conditions, the plant should be safe in the sense, not that it can run indefinitely on and on, but that it should not be a danger to the surrounding population around the plant. And it seemed that it is not, because the accidents which would happen and be worse than that - for example, one pump failing and one valve failing and then two human errors and so on - would occur very, very rarely. The decision was that accidents which happened once per 10,000 years of operation of a given reactor should be dealt with and we should be safe. The accident in TMI in US in 1978 showed that, really, the plant remained safe. Also, there was an error of equipment. Equipment was wrongly designed so that it was showing to the operator the status which was desired by the operator. The operator who wanted the valve to be closed and pushed the button and assumed that, since the button was pushed, it said the valve is closed. Actually, it wasn't. But the apparatus was not showing the true state of affairs and operators showed that the valve is closed and took a wrong decision resulting in complete core destruction. But the number of barriers and other safety systems was enough to keep this molten core inside the reactor pressure vessel and inside containment and practically nothing went out of containment. The amounts of iodine was so small that people for several months after the accident said it could not be destroyed because the amount of iodine is so small, it was 130 million I believe part of iodine which was out. Really, the precautions were sufficient. However, with time, we learned to deal better with all accidents and the previous assumption that we deal with this maximum accident into Generation II reactors gave way to a new assumption, no matter what was the reason, we want to keep all safety precautions. We want to train operators. We want to be safe, yes, okay and we pay for it. Okay.

But assume that, in spite of all that, the core of the reactor melts down, then we assume that we provide stop safety measures in the reactor and decry that people around it will be safe. These are Generation III reactors. The most classical example is the reactor EPR, European Pressurized Water Reactor, actually designed together with French and German engineers, but nowadays still sold only by France by EDF. This reactor was submitted to Finland, France, to China, and to UK. In the design which was submitted to the UK, it was assumed that the core is completely molten. Everything which was in the core - iodine, strontium, whatever - whatever is radioactive is released from this core. After that, there was the analysis made what will happen around the nuclear power plant. It went out that, within the radius of 500 meters, there will be significant releases and levels of radioactivity, but not killing anybody. And outside 500 meters, people can quietly stay, sleep, eat, live, not evacuate, anything, and be completely safe. So the radius of danger is 500 meters for the case of complete meltdown of the core of the reactor, which of course we do not allow. We do not allow meltdown of the core. We make many, many things to prevent it. The Generation III reactors are very strongly protected. And this is partly the effect of our technology, which we have improved so much that now we can assure it. And partly, well, let's be frank, the effect over attacks of terrorists on Twin Towers, after which we learned that every reactor can be attacked from the air by the largest possible airplane full of tanks of fuel. Well, not actually attacked by atomic bombs. If there is no atomic war, no nuclear power plant can stand the explosion of atomic weapon.

Jadwiga Najder
That's not that the biggest problem in this moment, I guess.

Andrzej Strupczewski
But if we speak about more or less normal times, including terrorist acts, nuclear power plant is safe. Fukushima was a great surprise for all of us, because Japanese were considered to be the most technically advanced people. And they were of course, yes, but actually, the reactors were designed in 1960s. They were the first reactors of the second generation that were built. And the Japanese have a special national feature that they are very proud people. They are right to be proud, they are really clever and they know a lot, but their national pride made that they do not want to look to others and their experiences. And when the International Atomic Energy Agency sent missions, which gave a suggestion that things could be improved and should be improved, or when the European, German, and French allied commission said that all nuclear power plants should have passive hydrogen recombiners installed - passive so that, in the case of an accident, when there is no electricity, they still recombine hydrogen and leave water steam simply outside, so there is no danger - when they learned about it, the Japanese said, Oh, well, maybe it's for Europe, but we are proud, we are strong, we are technically very much advanced. We don't care. They did not improve and implement all of these improvements. And so actually, when the proper day came in 2011, they had reactors which were at 50 years old. One of them was very close to being shut down. The others were younger, but were in a unmodified state. And what we must say, the reason of the accident was not exactly a nuclear error. It was the error of nuclear people, yes, but in this sense that they took the evaluations of hydrologists as correct. The hydrologists of Japan said that the maximum tsunami wave would be some five or six meters. And so, Fukushima nuclear power plant was provided with a safety wall which was seven meters high.

However, the tsunami was not five or six, it was, I believe, 13 meters high. Anyway, high enough to go over the wall and within one second, to put out of order all electricity sources in the plant. Normally, nuclear power plant gets power from two independent electric systems in the country. These systems were there in Fukushima, too, but before the tsunami, there was a very strong earthquake and all overhead lines of electricity power were completely destroyed. There was no outside power, none at all. There were no roads, no bridges, no way of access nothing. Still, the nuclear power plant was happily working, shutting down everything in order, and getting reactors to cool down because they had their own on-site emergency, electrical power. However, when the tsunami came and flooded the whole thing, this electric power was lost and not lost gradually, but lost abruptly during one second. The human toll was very small. During the earthquake, one man fell from the crane, and that was all. And the tsunami, I believe, also drowned one or two people. But nuclear radiation did not kill anybody. Still, the power plant, the plant was left without electric power, completely, in complete darkness. And so gradually, day after day, they were losing possibilities of fighting and saving the plant. Actually, it would be very simple to provide safety for the plant. It would be enough to make all compartments, to seal the doors and windows of all compartments where there were the sources of electrical power, these are solid. But it was not done, because they were assured that the tsunami would be below the safety wall. Actually, it was higher than that.

This we made, in Europe and in US, a large action, which was called stress tests. I had the honor to provide stress test verification for two units in Kozloduy. I was invited there, because previously I was the leader of missions. And so I went there. My Bulgarian is not very good, but good enough to be able to read. Anyway, we were writing the report in English, part of it in Russian. I stayed there and let the mission and safety review of Kozloduy. The interesting thing is that Kozloduy went through all this verification very well. Actually, what was the premise of this stress test? Well, it was said that we must assume the highest danger, which was decided, it was considered during the design of the plant. Then at the one degree more to see whether the plant can stand this maximum plus one, this danger. So in the case of offset, usually the plants turned out to be good, but some small improvements were necessary. For example, in Ukraine when I was on a mission later on checking whether they made the correct improvements after a stress test action, the question, the classical question was, What will you do if you lose electric power? Well, the answer was, We have our own on-site sources. Oh, yes, but if your sources are lost, your do something, because, for example, all these engines are lost. Well, then you must have some other source of power. Oh, yes, we have, we do. We have mobile diesel sources, diesel engines. We can drive the truck with diesel engines and get the power. Oh, yeah, but can you connect? Can you connect them, have your connections? Yes, we have connections. Do you check connections? Yes, we do. We check them. How often? Once a year. Do you have people trained for this? Yes, we have people. Do they train again? Yes. And so on, so on. And finally the question, Okay, great, and how many mobile diesel sources do you have? One. Well, that's not enough, you must have two. So you see, even if a plant is very good, you can find something which you can improve. In the case of Ukraine Khmelnitski, it was just a second truck with diesel. Okay. For Kozloduy, some other small things and so on. Generally, when I look at the results of the stress testing, I mean that the average expenditure per nuclear power plant was about $100 million to make it, not only safe for the conditions for which it was designed, but safe for all conditions which could be imagined beyond design. I will say that the plants of the third generation are really checked very carefully. And they are safe, they are safe, Safety checking in UK, for example, for EPR - actually, there were four designs submitted to UK, but I will speak just about EPR - it was four years work. Each year there was one stage to be covered. The British people said they do not have enough expertise within technical, let's say, within the nuclear commission, so they involve people from other organizations. They made this study during four years, and after four years came the results, yes, EPR is safe. I think we really should believe these experts.

Jadwiga Najder
Yes, I totally believe them. These are none of my doubts. However, I guess for general public and no matter how hard the industry tries, no matter how much research and science is published proving that nuclear is safe, still people really have doubts. Most of all, as for the radiation that is possible going out of the plant, that is possible related to spent nuclear fuel. This is something that it is very deeply ingrained in people's prejudices, I think. Do you think that any advancement in understanding of small doses, any advancement in being able to prove or disprove the influence the impact of small doses, such as the doses around the nuclear power plant, would be able to influence general public to trust more in the safety of the plants?

Andrzej Strupczewski
Okay. I'm a member of the non-governmental organization called SARI: Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information. People in this study are only invited by invitation of members - there are not too many of them, I don't know the number, maybe 100 or so -and we aim to give true, accurate information about the effects of radiation on human health. The important thing is that this radiation in the amounts, which are around the nuclear power plant, or can arise in case of operation are not harmful to people. I think our time is near to be ended. I will be very happy to speak about it, because, well, you can take my word for it, that really, our organisms can cope with radiation in such amounts as they are in the environment, but my word is not enough. Well, I can only say, in support of my words, that I was drinking water from my nuclear power plants slavisa. So, and it is on film so you can see. I not only say so, but I believe so. Actually, the trick is that the water which I was drinking was from the third circuit leaving the nuclear power plant and there was no radioactivity, because they could be any radioactivity and I will be happy to explain why. But anyway, it was the water going out of the nuclear power plant and people would be afraid of this. As far as I know, nobody tried to do this. So, I will be very happy to speak with you.

But just to give a very brief information, I will say that the cells which constitute our organisms, they are cells which were created about a billion or two billions years ago, a very, very long time ago. And this long time ago, radiation was much stronger than it is today. Why? Well, because even atom sent some radiation outside, it does not send the same radiation the second time. It was radioactive, it is not now radioactive. After 1 billion years, many, many atoms which were sending radiation, now do not send this radiation. We live now in conditions of radiation which are much lower, four to five times lower, than they were on Earth when our organism, or the cells of our organisms, were first created. These cells had to be resistant to radiation, had to have defense mechanisms against radiation, and they had them. Otherwise they will not survive. Today, we feel very well in conditions of radiation, which is around us. In fact, if there was no radiation, we would not survive. There were experiments made with organisms which were kept without radiation. They were a very difficult conditions, because radiation is practically everywhere, but it was achieved. And it was observed that they were disappearing, dying, and after a while, there was much, much less of them than initially. And after that, a small source of radiation was introduced into their surroundings and look, they came up again, strong, and they revived. Well, for other practical information, I can tell you that if we live in conditions of four to five times higher than the average radiation on the Earth, we shall be perfectly fine. Nothing will happen. And if we have another possibility to speak about it, or to show some slides, I will be happy to show you the results of a study. Population have chosen people of groups, of population, of patients in hospitals, of doctors, of people which have locational or professional contact with radiation, and so on and so on. In many subgroups in which the studies were made, many people wanted to make a doctor's degree or professor's degree to find something wrong with radiation, and they never found it. Okay. That's for the moment. And if you want to speak about it, I'll be happy and I believe that if we understand that radiation is not harmful, then we shall not be afraid of nuclear plant.

Jadwiga Najder
Yes, very important words. I have one last question as we are finishing here. What would you like to see changing or developing in the coming years or decades? You can choose whatever is the most important for you?

Andrzej Strupczewski
What I would like to change in what?

Jadwiga Najder
In the nuclear industry or in the nuclear science in the coming ten years or decades.

Andrzej Strupczewski
I believe that the thing which we should be able to change is the approach to the effects of small doses of radiation. Really, we pay a lot of money and we take on unnecessary actions like evacuation of people because of fear. Marie Skłodowska Curie said that radiation is not something to be afraid of, it is something to be understood. And John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, The worst thing is fear itself. So, let us not fear radiation. Then our plants will be much simpler, much, much cheaper, and we shall not suffer unnecessary conditions and results of fear of people who decide or people who have to live in their vicinity. Really, something should be changed. I have written about it. Other people have written about it. We have many thousands, tens of thousands of publications showing that radiation is not harmful, but there are strong reasons - political reasons - for keeping the hypothesis that every even smallest dose of radiation can harm. Keeping it as a rule. It is simple. Yes, it is. Easy to use, but it is not true. And it is harmful to all of us.

Jadwiga Najder
Okay, with these strong words, let me thank you for the conversation. Thank you very much, and all the best in the future.

Andrzej Strupczewski
Thank you very much, and I'm very happy that I had the chance to speak with you.

Jadwiga Najder
Thank you.

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