Adapted nuclear safety solutions involve cultural and regulatory contexts as well as each actor’s responsibilities.
Actors of Nuclear Safety
The main parties involved in Nuclear Safety are:
- Nuclear Operators ;
- Regulatory Authorities for Nuclear Safety ;
- Technical Nuclear Safety Organizations (TSO) ;
The relations between these parties are given on the following diagram:
The roles of these key parties are detailed in the next sections.
Among the actors of Nuclear Safety, it is also important to mention:
- International Organizations, in particular the IAEA who edits essential reference documents, several of which are cited in this site, and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/NEA);
- equipment, facilities and substructure manufacturers;
- engineering and nuclear power consulting firms like SureDyna.
The Nuclear Operators are companies and agencies directly and daily managing nuclear installations and activities.
The main French nuclear operators are:
- EDF for Nuclear Power Plants (NPP);
- AREVA for fuel cycle facilities;
- the CEA for hot laboratories and research reactors;
- the Andra for radioactive waste management.
According to the first IAEA Fundamental Safety Principle, these operators bear the prime responsibility for Nuclear Safety within their installations.
In addition, only nuclear operators can implement principles 3, 5 and 10 in their installations:
- Effective leadership and management for safety must be established and sustained in organizations concerned with, and facilities and activities that give rise to, radiation risks
- Protection must be optimized to provide the highest level of safety that can reasonably be achieved
- Protective actions to reduce existing or unregulated radiation risks must be justified and optimized
Eventually, nuclear operators have an important share of responsibility in the application of principles 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9:
- Facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks must yield an overall benefit
- Measures for controlling radiation risks must ensure that no individual bears an unacceptable risk of harm
- People and the environment, present and future, must be protected against radiation risks
- All practical efforts must be made to prevent and mitigate nuclear or radiation accidents
- Arrangements must be made for emergency preparedness and response for nuclear or radiation incidents
We’ll see the next page of this site how nuclear operators can implement the Application of these principles in their installations.
Regulatory Authorities for Nuclear Safety
According to the second IAEA Fundamental Safety Principle, the regulatory control of Nuclear Safety should be established and sustain to be effective and independent: indeed, there should be no interest outside Nuclear Safety to influence its decisions in one direction or the other.
In practice, the Regulator:
- contributes to the development of regulations, providing advice to its Government on the draft decrees and decisions or taking technical regulatory, especially authorizations for the operation of nuclear facilities;
- verifies compliance with rules and regulations to which nuclear installations or activities are subjected, in particular by means of inspections;
- participates in public information, including in emergency situations.
There exists an independent Nuclear Regulatory Authority in most countries which carry nuclear activities.
In France, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) provides regulatory control of civil nuclear installations.
The competences of each one of these Regulatory Authorities are limited to the country in which they exert. However, these Authorities pool their efforts and gather in international agencies such as Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (WENRA).
Eventually, the American Nuclear Safety Authority United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S.NRC) offers a comprehensive set of standards and technical rules especially CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and NUREG, used all over the world.
Besides, the U.S.NRC also provide the role of a TSO.
Technical Nuclear Safety Organizations (TSO)
A TSO is a a technical and scientific organization independently analyzing and evaluating safety of nuclear installations and radiation risks in accordance with agreed practices in risk assessment and scientific standards and with normative standards from international work.
The French TSO is the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire.
In countries where they exist (especially France), TSOs play an essential role to provide technical support to the Regulator, to develop and maintain best practices in risk analysis and safety assessment of nuclear installations and to perform research and development in these areas.
At present, the concept of “TSO” distinct from the Regulator is primarily European.
European TSOs gather in the European TSO Network (ETSON).
Lawful requirements relating to the exercise of nuclear activities are specific to each country.
SureDyna is able to help you figure out the complete and up to date requirements relative to your activity, according to its geographical location.
Meanwhile, it is advisable to retain the following indications.
In all the countries where they exist, nuclear activities are carried out within a legal framework which notably defines the roles of the different actors.
As we saw, the nuclear activities are subjected to the authorization of the Regulator which controls them: the legal framework specifies the perimeter of the nuclear activities, the way in which they must be exerted, the conditions and the missions relative to this control.
In Europe, there exists a common founding document: the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Atomic Energy Community of March 25, 1957 (consolidated version: March 30, 2010).
To be allowed to exercise their activities, nuclear operators are required to provide safety Reference Documents to the Regulator.
The main documents to provide for a nuclear installation to be allowed to operate are:
- Preliminary (PSAR) and Final (FSAR) Safety Analysis Report (SAR);
- Emergency Plan;
To perform this documentation, U.S.NRC Regulatory Guides are widely used all over the world, especially the Regulatory Guide 1.70 (Revision 3) Standard Format and Content of Safety Analysis Reports for Nuclear Power Plants for reactor FSARs with its 17 Chapters’ Table of Contents.
For fuel cycle facilities, the Regulatory Guide 3.26 Standard Format and Content of Safety Analysis Reports for Fuel Reprocessing Plants Table of Contents includes 12 Chapters.
U.S.NRC provides Emergency Preparedness Regulations as well.
Depending on Country regulations, other specific documents are to be prepared, such as General Operating Rules (“Règles Générales d’Exploitation”) in France.
In any case, these documents should be consistent with internal procedures as well as with other neighbouring regulatory documents (i.e. emergency plan of local authorities).