Safety Assessment Section

This Section supports IAEA Member States, including embarking countries, in establishing and continuously improving the appropriate safety infrastructure with the development of Safety Standards and associated technical guidance related to design safety and safety assessment of nuclear power plants. To support their effective application, the Section provides Technical Safety Reviews (TSR), an IAEA peer-review service to evaluate nuclear power plants design safety and safety assessment aspects, as well as training activities and capacity building programmes based on Member States’ needs and/or issues identified during review missions. It promotes the use of state-of-the-art safety assessment methods and tools and encourages the exchange of information, coordination of programmes, and cooperation with recognised international organisations inter alia through the development and maintenance of the Global Safety Assessment Network (GSAN) platform.

Developing standards for design safety and safety assessment

The Section develops a broad range of Safety Standards related to the design safety of nuclear power plants and the safety assessment of facilities and activities to ensure that all aspects of nuclear safety are addressed in an integrated manner. The Safety Standards are developed together with an international team of senior experts by means of an open, transparent, and consensus-driven process that integrates safety knowledge and best practices from Member States.

Conducting Technical Safety Peer Reviews

To address Member States specific needs for independent safety evaluation at most stages of development and deployment of nuclear power programmes’ life-cycle, the Section provides Technical Safety Review (TSR) services, a tailored independent international peer-review evaluation of plant design safety and safety assessment based on IAEA Safety Standards. The TSR covers the following subject areas:

  • Design Safety (DS)
  • Generic Reactor Safety (GRS)
  • Safety Requirements (SR)
  • Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSR)
  • Accident Management (AM)
  • Periodic Safety Review (PSR)

These TSR services are also offered to address specific technical aspects, such as plant modifications or the development of regulatory safety requirements. The TSR streamlines and integrates the earlier peer-review services of the IAEA, e.g. Design Safety Review Service (DSRS), Technical Safety Review of Generic Reactor Safety (TSR-GSR), International Probabilistic Safety Assessment Review Team, (IPSART), Review of Accident Management Programme (RAMP), etc. The review concludes with a final report issued by the IAEA to the beneficiary Member State, which includes recommendations for enhancements and improvements to safety.

Small Modular Reactors safety and other cross cutting topics

The Section coordinates the development of systematic guidance on the applicability of IAEA safety standards to novel advanced reactors including small modular reactors (SMRs) and non-water-cooled reactors. This work is completed with an assistance of a  network consisting  of over a hundred external senior experts, including regulatory bodies and technology developers that exchange information on wide-ranging technology aspects of SMRs (land and transportable) and key challenges in safety and licensing of novel advanced reactors on aspects of legal, regulatory, siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation, decommissioning, radioactive waste management, including disposal. The section delivers SMR safety webinars to support regulatory, industry and technical support organisations to understand key areas of safety of novel advanced reactor technologies and promotes international collaboration to develop a long-term programme in the area of novel advanced reactors safety.

For novel advanced reactor designs in early stages of development, the section offers a tailored SMR Technical Review Service, focusing on the assessment of key aspects of the concept design and safety analysis against technology neutral areas of the safety standards.

Finally, the Section works on the development of a safety framework for commercial fusion reactors in collaboration with other IAEA sections and departments and a network of external experts.

Capacity building through the Global Safety Assessment Network

The Section maintains the Global Safety Assessment Network (GSAN), which is part of the Global Safety and Security Network (GNSSN) and requires registration. It connects experts worldwide and facilitates focused collaboration on the development of Safety Standards and other technical guidance documents as well as a platform to share relevant information on technical and consultancy meetings with international participants.

GSAN also hosts safety assessment competency-building materials in support of global implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards, with the intent to expand and develop nuclear programmes globally and hosts a variety of international, regional, and national training courses and workshops in the area of plant design safety and safety assessment under its Safety Assessment Education and Training (SAET) programme. These activities are essential components of building and sustaining competency for the design, oversight, and operation of nuclear installations.

The Section provides support to Member States in building and sustaining capacity in nuclear safety. Learn more about the Section's work in this area.

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