Experts Complete IAEA Follow-up Review of Spanish Nuclear Regulatory Authority

2011/02
Madrid, Spain

Nuclear safety experts today concluded an eight-day mission to review Spain´s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN). At the request of the Spanish Government, the International Atomic Energy Agency assembled a peer-review team of five high-level regulatory experts from four nations and two IAEA staff members to conduct a follow-up assessment of an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission conducted in 2008.

This follow-up IRRS mission examined CSN´s progress in acting upon the recommendations and suggestions made during the 2008 IRRS mission and reviewed the areas of significant regulatory changes since that review. Both reviews covered safety and security regulatory aspects of all facilities and activities in Spain.

The first mission reviewed Spain´s regulatory framework against IAEA Safety Standards and fostered the exchange of information and experience on safety regulation. The mission also included a peer review of the security activities within the regulatory framework.

IRRS team leader Luis Reyes, Senior Executive of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said today, "In 2008, the mission found particular strengths in CSN´s policy, its regulatory framework and its regulatory activities. We made a number of suggestions and recommendations for further improvement of the regulatory framework. CSN should be commended for the significant amount of efforts in addressing all the findings identified in 2008 mission."

The review team found that CSN has made significant progress toward improving its regulatory activities. Most of the findings identified in the 2008 report have been effectively addressed and therefore can be considered closed. Additional findings are being addressed in accordance with a comprehensive and systematic action plan, in particular efforts to revise the CSN Statute.

Complementing the CSN strengths identified during the 2008 mission, the 2011 IRRS team noted the following strengths:

  • Improvements in regulatory areas of inspection and public communication as a consequence of the lessons learned in 2008 from the event at the Asco Nuclear Power Plant;
  • CSN´s interactions at the highest level with licensees to discuss strategic planning and their investments in safety and human resources; and
  • The establishment of formal frameworks for cooperation between the CSN and several governmental organizations, such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior in the areas of radiation protection and security.

Carmen Martinez Ten, President of CSN, said, "I am proud that Spain is among the first countries to have received a full-scope IRRS mission and a follow-up. CSN has benefitted from the IRRS mission using the contribution from senior regulators which has resulted and will continue in further improvements in our regulatory framework."

The IRRS team also made recommendations and suggestions to further strengthen Spain´s regulatory body, including:

  • CSN should establish a formal policy on how to use technical advisory bodies for technical regulatory decisions;
  • CSN should continue to work with relevant bodies to prepare for the disposal of spent fuel and high-level waste, taking into account the progress being made in the siting of a storage facility; and
  • CSN should continue to work with relevant competent authorities and other bodies on regulatory aspects of security.

Denis Flory, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Safety and Security, said, "This mission is a clear example of the value of regulatory bodies participating in a senior peer review process offered by IAEA. A particularly important feature of these IRRS follow-up missions is to assess the effective implementation of the recommendations made. This mission to Spain also demonstrates clearly the mutual interest of IRRS missions: they encourage improvements in the host countries and serve as valuable sources of information for the reviewers themselves and for other regulatory bodies."

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Last update: 18 November 2014