Calin Georgescu, Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights, said: “Nuclear power is and will remain a controversial topic, and any decision in this regard should be taken on the basis of a wide consultation at the national level.” Speaking after an official visit to Poland, Mr. Georgescu encouraged authorities “to consider organizing a nationwide referendum on this matter.” Poland is planning to have its first nuclear power station on line by 2020, according to media reports. Mr. Georgescu acknowledged that Poland is highly dependent on coal for energy generation, with more than 90 per cent of electricity generated from combustion of coal, and needs to diversify its sources for energy production.He recommended that adequate information be provided to the public, including “the most recent information and scientific data on uranium procurement, on the possible risks associated with the use of nuclear energy and on the solutions envisaged for the safe storage and environmentally sound disposal of nuclear waste generated by the power plant.”The Special Rapporteur said Poland also has challenges in chemical and waste management. “The municipal waste management system needs significant improvements. At present, it does not allow for the segregation of hazardous waste contained in mixed municipal waste streams, and a significant part of this waste continues to be disposed of in municipal waste landfills.”On toxic wastes, too, Mr. Georgescu said the public should be fully informed. “Information currently available is not easily accessible,” he said. “Poland needs to adopt additional measures to facilitate access to information held by public authorities on hazardous chemicals and toxic waste.”Mr. Georgescu, who works in an independent and unpaid capacity, will present a report on his mission to Poland to the UN Human Rights Council in September. 31 May 2011An independent United Nations expert on toxic wastes today urged Poland to consider holding a referendum on its proposed construction of a nuclear energy facility, which would be the first in the European country. read more