Regulatory bodies of several IAEA Member States came together in 2009 and agreed to establish the IAEA Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF). This regulator-to-regulator forum sets out to promote collaboration and cooperation to improve coordination among Member States with well-established nuclear power programmes (providers) and those considering the introduction or expansion of such programmes (recipients).
At its fifth plenary meeting on Friday, 26 September 2014 on the margins of the 58th IAEA General Conference, the RCF's goals, objectives and activities over the past 12 months were reviewed.
As Denis Flory, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, has said: "The safety and security of nuclear power is a global issue, crossing national borders, therefore it is even more important that regulators share their knowledge and experience. The RCF provides the best forum from which to share this knowledge and experience, and the IAEA believes that the RCF is an outstanding example of international cooperation and collaboration and stands by to promote and facilitate the forum."
During presentations and discussions, information was provided on the support that has been arranged through the RCF for Member States embarking on nuclear power programmes. For instance, Jordan and Viet Nam have received RCF support since 2010 and 2012, respectively. As of this year, the RCF has engaged in the development of action plans to commence support for Belarus and Poland.
Representatives of both support providers and recipients, including Belarus, the European Commission, Poland, the Russian Federation and Viet Nam, commented on the benefits of their collaboration with the RCF. They noted that the RCF was instrumental in highlighting the necessity of an independent and effective regulatory body, particularly for 'nuclear newcomers', and in providing coordinated support for the different stages of development of such a regulatory body.
They also said that their involvement as members of the RCF has positively influenced the development of their regulatory bodies, which has in turn resulted in the bodies gaining further importance within their respective governments. The RCF members also discussed the challenges and way forward for the RCF programme.
Over the past years, the RCF has been working to not only support regulatory capacity building, but also to promote the expansion of its membership and strengthen effective member participation. Additionally, the aim of the annual RCF plenary meeting is to provide a platform for sharing RCF objectives and goals with a global audience.
Following the 2009 Conference on Effective Nuclear Regulatory Systems in Cape Town, South Africa, the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) was established in June 2010. Its goal is to assist in the development of effectively independent and robust regulatory bodies of nuclear power. The IAEA was asked to provide the scientific secretary to the RCF. Member States wishing to receive regulatory support are encouraged to conduct self-assessments and present the Forum with a detailed analysis of their support needs, support gaps and the type of support the country currently receives. The RCF uses this information to draft an action plan designed specifically for each Member State.
The RCF is a Member State driven organization that also fosters State-to-State regulatory cooperation in nuclear energy moderated by the Scientific Secretary provided through the IAEA. The RCF has 27 members including the IAEA, the European Commission (EC) and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/NEA).