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New IAEA Publication on Safety Analysis and Licensing Documentation for Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities

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Like nuclear power plants, fuel cycle facilities such as fuel fabrication plants, reprocessing facilities and storage sites deal with nuclear material and their operations need to conform to the highest international safety standards without unduly limiting their utilization.

For the first time — and in response to stakeholder demand — a detailed guidance by the IAEA, the Safety Analysis and Licensing Documentation for Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities, published in the IAEA Safety Reports Series last month provides systematic guidance and benchmarks to experts in maintaining these standards at fuel cycle facilities, protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation.

“The publication addresses the need of national authorities to build capacity for performing safety analysis of nuclear fuel cycle facilities,” said Amgad Shokr, Section Head in charge of the safety of fuel cycle facilities at the IAEA. “It also supports capacity for regulatory oversight of the facilities based on the IAEA safety standards.”

Experts now have a guide to operationalize safety analysis and prepare applications for licensing of their current, potential and regularly reviewed nuclear fuel cycle facilities. The IAEA report lays out all the steps in performing a safety analysis by cohesively presenting and applying its results while simultaneously indicating content of the safety analysis report. This safety report also contains useful examples of how to apply a graded approach to fuel cycle facilities, how to identify relevant hazards, how to establish the list of postulated initiating events or how to define design extension conditions for nuclear fuel cycle facilities.

The publication is applicable to all nuclear fuel cycle facility types, such as those processing uranium and thorium ores, reconverting, enriching, and fabricating all nuclear fuel types, reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and those facilities engaged in fuel cycle research and development.

According to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Information System managed by the IAEA, there are more than 330 nuclear fuel cycle facilities in operation and 42 planned, under construction or in commissioning.

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