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International Nuclear Safety Experts Conclude IAEA Peer Review of the Regulatory System of the Russian Federation

Moscow, 27 November 2009 | An international team of nuclear and radiation safety experts today completed a two-week IAEA review of the regulatory framework of the Russian Federation. The team identified good practices within the system and gave advice on areas for future improvements. The IAEA has conveyed its main conclusions to the Government of Russian Federation; the final report will be submitted early 2010. At the request of the Government of the Russian Federation, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assembled a team of 18 experts to conduct an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission. This mission is a peer review based on the IAEA Safety Standards. It is not an inspection, nor an audit. The experts came from 15 different countries: Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States. The scope of the mission included facilities and activities regulated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Minprirody) and the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service (Rostechnadzor). The mission was conducted from 16 to 27 November, mainly in Moscow. Typical nuclear facilities were visited, including a nuclear power plant, a research reactor, a fuel cycle facility, a waste storage facility and a radioactive source supplier. The basis for the review was a well-prepared self-assessment report that included an action plan to improve the regulatory effectiveness of nuclear and radiation safety in the Russian Federation. The IRRS team reviewed the following regulatory areas: the responsibilities and functions of the governmental nuclear safety regime; the responsibilities and functions of the regulatory body and its management system; the activities of the regulatory body including authorizations; review and assessment; inspection and enforcement processes; and the development of regulations and guides. The IAEA´s IRRS coordinator Mr. Gustavo Caruso said, "The request to receive an IRRS is a strong indication of the readiness of the Russian Federation to improve the effectiveness of its regulatory system." The IRRS team identified particular strengths in the Russian Federation regulatory system:

  • Extensive use of IAEA Safety Standards in Russian Federation legislation, regulations and guides;
  • Proactive international cooperation; and
  • A systematic approach to assess the competence of staff operating nuclear installations.
The IRRS team also made recommendations to improve the overall performance of the regulatory system. Examples include:
  • Nuclear safety related legislation should be further enhanced for all nuclear activities, including radioactive waste management;
  • The regulatory system´s independence to decide on its inspection activities should be increased;
  • Better coordination should be sought among the different State organizations regulating nuclear and radiation safety; and
  • More resources are needed for nuclear and radiation safety regulation, including competent staff.
Mr. Jukka Laaksonen, IRRS Team Leader and Director General of the Finnish Regulatory Body (STUK) said, "The mission should lead to increased governmental support for regulatory activities with a consequential strengthening of the nuclear safety regulation in the country."