IAEA Gives Thumbs Up to Nuclear Safety Framework
An international team of senior nuclear safety and radiation protection experts concluded an 11-day mission last week to review the regulatory framework for nuclear safety in Slovakia.
At the request of the Slovak Government, the IAEA assembled a team of 12 senior regulatory experts from 12 nations to conduct the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission involving the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic (UJD SR). The international experts also met officials from the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic (UVZ SR) regarding the regulation of occupational radiation protection in nuclear facilities. The mission is a peer review based on the IAEA Safety Standards.
Marta Žiaková, Chairperson of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Slovak Republic, declared that “The IRRS mission has a great value for the future development and orientation of the UJD SR.”
“Slovakia has established a regulatory framework for nuclear safety which is in line with international standards and practice,” said Mission Team Leader Andrej Stritar, Director of the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration.
The main observations of the IRRS Review team included: UJD SR operates with independence and transparency; UJD SR has developed and implemented a systematic training approach to meet its competence needs; and in response to the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, UJD SR has reacted and communicated to interested parties, including the public.
The good practices identified by the IRRS Review Team include:
- UJD SR has a comprehensive and well-formalized strategic approach to informing and consulting interested parties;
- UJD SR has developed and implemented a structured approach to training and developing its staff; and
- Detailed legal requirements provide a solid basis for on-site and off-site response in nuclear emergencies coordinated with local authorities.
The IRRS Review team identified areas for further improvement and believes that consideration of these would enhance the overall performance of the regulatory system:
- Coordination and allocation of responsibilities among State Authorities in the area of safety and improvement of planning and coordination of their activities;
- The development of a national policy and strategy document for nuclear safety; and
- A unified national radiation monitoring system to ensure its results could be used by competent authorities in normal situations as well as during emergencies.
In a preliminary report, the IAEA has conveyed the team’s main conclusions to UJD SR. A final report will be submitted to the Government of Slovakia in about three months. UJD SR has informed the team that the final report will be publicly available. The IAEA encourages nations to invite a follow-up IRRS mission about two years after the mission has been completed.
The IRRS mission to Slovakia was conducted from 28 May to 7 June 2012, mainly in Bratislava.
The IRRS team carried out a review of nuclear legal and regulatory framework for nuclear safety. Special attention was given to the review of the regulatory implications for Slovakia of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident.
The review addressed all facilities regulated by UJD SR including nine nuclear power units, as well as spent fuel and waste management facilities. The IRRS mission did not include a comprehensive review of the national regulatory infrastructure for radiation safety of Slovakia, which is planned to be covered in the IRRS follow-up mission.
Team experts came from twelve different countries: Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine and United Kingdom. The IRRS team consisted also of 6 IAEA staff members.
Slovakia has nine nuclear power reactors at two sites (Bohunice, Mochovce): 3 units are in decommissioning, four units are in operation and two units under construction. Slovakia has no other fuel cycle facilities or research reactors. As of 2010, nuclear power contributed 50.7 percent of the country’s electricity production.
Slovakia has a central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, a centre for waste treatment and a national repository for low and intermediate activity radioactive waste.
About IRRS Missions
IRRS missions are designed to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure of States, while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in this area.
This is done through consideration of both regulatory, technical and policy issues, with comparisons against IAEA safety standards and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere.