IAEA Team Concludes Peer Review of Sweden's Nuclear Regulatory Framework

2012/04
Stockholm, Sweden

An international team of senior nuclear safety and radiation protection experts today concluded a 12-day mission to review the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Sweden.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission, which was conducted at the request of Sweden, noted good practices in the country's nuclear regulatory system and also made recommendations and suggestions for the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) and the government. These are aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the country's regulatory framework and functions in line with IAEA Safety Standards.

"Throughout the mission, the IRRS team received full cooperation from SSM staff in its review of Sweden's regulatory, technical and policy issues," said Georg Schwarz, mission leader and Deputy Director General of the Swiss nuclear regulator (ENSI).

"The staff were open and candid in their discussions and provided the fullest practicable assistance," he commented. The main observations of the IRRS Review team included the following:

  • SSM operates as an independent regulator in an open and transparent manner with well-organized regulatory processes;
  • SSM is receptive to feedback and strives to maintain a culture of continuous learning; and
  • Following the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident, SSM responded promptly to public demand for information and communicated effectively with the national government, the public and other interested parties.

Good practices identified by the IRRS team included, though they are not limited to, the following:

  • The consolidation of the two previous national regulatory authorities into SSM was successful;
  • Overall, SSM's management system is comprehensive and contributes to staff efficiency and effectiveness;
  • The nuclear power plant refurbishment programme as required by SSM enhanced safety; and
  • Sweden's regulatory framework for high-level waste disposal is comprehensive and technically sound.

The IRRS Review team identified issues warranting attention or in need of improvement. These include, though they are not limited to, the following:

  • A strategy should be developed to ensure that Sweden's regulatory framework (legislation, regulations and guides) is consistent with IAEA Safety Standards. At present, regulations and general advice documents do not cover all topics as required;
  • SSM's internal guidance regarding its regulatory practices should be standardized;
  • SSM should re-evaluate its staffing and competence needs and seek appropriate resources; and
  • The inspection programme in many technical areas needs strengthening.

In a preliminary report, the IAEA has conveyed the team's main conclusions to SSM. A final report will be submitted to the authority in about three months. SSM has informed the team that it will make the report public. The IAEA encourages nations to invite a follow-up IRRS mission about two years after the mission has been completed.

Background

The IRRS team carried out a review of the full spectrum of Sweden's nuclear legal and regulatory framework. Special attention was given to the review of the regulatory implications for Sweden of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident.

The review addressed all facilities and activities regulated by SSM including 10 nuclear power units, a fuel fabrication facility, spent fuel and waste management facilities and users of radioactive sources.

The mission included site visits to facilities to observe inspections and a series of interviews and discussions with SSM staff and other organizations. In addition, the IRRS team observed an emergency exercise which was conducted with representatives from multiple organizations, government and industry.

The mission took place from 6 to 17 February 2012 at the SSM's headquarters in Stockholm. A Press Conference was conducted at the end of the mission on 17 February.

The IRRS team consisted of 18 senior regulatory experts from 16 IAEA Member States and 6 IAEA staff members.

Quick Facts

Sweden has 10 nuclear power reactors in three nuclear power plants (Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals), three units in permanent shutdown and a fuel fabrication facility. As of 2010, nuclear contributed 38.13 per cent to the country's electricity production.

The country has a central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and a centre for waste treatment, storage and material investigation. Sweden has also identified a location (Forsmark) as final repository for 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.

More information about IRRS missions is available on the IAEA Website.

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Last update: 13 November 2014