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International Experts Conclude IAEA Peer Review of Iran's Safety Regulation of Bushehr NPP

Tehran, 2 March 2010 | An international team of nuclear safety experts today completed an IAEA mission to review the effectiveness of Iran´s safety regulation of its first nuclear power plant and to identify possible improvements before the plant begins operation.

Upon invitation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assembled a team of senior regulators from seven Member States for an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission.

The scope of the mission was limited to the safety regulation of Bushehr nuclear power plant (BNPP-1).

The IRRS review took place from 20 February to 2 March at the INRA offices in Tehran and included a technical visit to the BNPP-1 site.

The mission was an objective peer review based on IAEA safety standards, and was neither an inspection, nor an audit.

Ms. Olena Mykolaichuk, IRRS Team Leader and Head of the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine, commended her INRA counterparts:

"The regulatory work performed on the Bushehr construction and in preparation for commissioning has demonstrated significant progress of INRA as a nuclear regulatory authority," she said.

Philippe Jamet, Director of the IAEA´s Nuclear Installation Safety Division, added: "Through this IRRS mission, both Iran and the international experts contribute to the enhancement of nuclear safety and worldwide experience sharing."

In the course of its review the IRRS team identified the following strengths:

  • INRA has a dedicated, conscientious staff, demonstrating clear commitments to further improvements.
  • INRA clearly recognizes the value of peer reviews and international cooperation regarding nuclear safety.
  • Despite a shortage of staff, INRA demonstrated strong leadership while performing both review and assessment and inspection tasks during the BNPP-1 construction and pre-commissioning.
  • INRA has developed an excellent computerized documentation control system.
Recommendations and suggestions to improve INRA´s regulatory effectiveness included the following:
  • The Government should support the prompt enactment of a law establishing INRA as an independent nuclear regulatory authority, as well as provide it with all authority and resources needed to carry out its functions.
  • The Government is encouraged to join the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
  • INRA should replace the existing set of ad hoc regulatory requirements with a comprehensive system of national nuclear safety regulations.
  • The number and expertise of technical staff should be increased and career incentives should be established to attract and retain them.

The IAEA has conveyed the findings from the current review mission to the Iranian authorities; the final report will be provided to the Government within four months.

General information about the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) and previous missions can be found on the IAEA website.