• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

RCF Plenary Discusses Strengthening Drafting and Revising of Nuclear Safety Regulations


The ninth Regulatory Cooperation Forum meeting held during the IAEA General Conference. (Photo: F. Nassif/IAEA)

Helping countries new to nuclear power to develop regulations and guides was the focus of the ninth plenary meeting of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF), where discussions took place on how to complete the regulations of newcomer countries and how to provide further support.

Countries introducing nuclear power need help in developing regulations and guides for their nuclear power programme and need to establish regulations that fit their specific requirements. The goal of the 29-member RCF is to support these countries in developing their nuclear safety infrastructure.

In his opening remarks, Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, spoke of the increasing demand for support from RCF due to the growing number of countries introducing or planning to introduce nuclear power. The session, he said, provides an opportunity to prioritize and action the future work. “Effective coordination will avoid duplication of effort and increase our impact.”

Bangladesh, Nigeria and Sudan joined RCF as recipient countries this year, while Ghana and Morocco became members in 2017. Belarus, Jordan, Poland and Viet Nam continue to receive support from the group.

“The growth in RCF’s membership is a vote of confidence in the work we do,” said Bismark Tyobeka, RCF’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator. “We need to add more effort to improve cooperation and coordination and make the use of resources more effective to achieve and sustain a high level of nuclear safety consistent with IAEA safety standards and guidance.”

Today’s meeting was a follow up to a discussion held earlier this year, in which recipient countries expressed the need for more practical assistance in drafting safety regulations and guidance documents, said Stewart Magruder, a senior IAEA nuclear safety officer. “The government and the legal infrastructure are unique in each country, and regulations need to be tailored to fit the specific circumstances. You can’t just cut and paste.”

Building on experience from Belarus, Japan and Pakistan

Regulatory organizations from Belarus, Jordan and Pakistan shared their experience in the drafting and revising of safety regulations and guides. This gave participants first-hand information on best practices as well as specific safety procedures and processes that were introduced to adapt regulation based on other countries’.

Zoya Trafimchik, Deputy Director of Belarus’s nuclear regulatory authority Gosatomnadzor noted that Belarus has worked hard to ensure that all safety regulatory requirements were met at different stages of the development of the Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant and highlighted the licensing activities in the commissioning of the plant. “Gaps were analysed and our government developed and implemented specific legal acts to ensure that the highest safety standards are met.” Technical standards and documents on the safe management of radioactive waste management and spent fuel of the country are regularly reviewed and updated, she added.

“Pakistan has a robust regulatory and legal framework of nuclear safety and the Pakistan Nuclear Regulation Authority has a well thought out, integrated process to devise, adopt and enforce regulations as well as codes of good practices for nuclear safety and radiation protection,” said Faizan Mansoor, an executive member of the Authority.

He explained how the regulations undergo internal review every five years at different levels within the Authority and and “the opinions of all stakeholders, including licensees, the government, and the general public, are actively sought and incorporated.”

“It is important not to be complacent and to improve regulations and processes for nuclear safety,” said Aki Komastu, Assistant Director of the International Affairs Office of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority, adding that the experience of nuclear accidents and emergencies illustrates the critical need to review and revise safety regulations for continuous improvement.  

Specific safety guides such as Establishing the Safety Infrastructure for a Nuclear Power Programme-SSG-16 provide guidance to operators as well as regulatory authorities;  this is where countries with well-established nuclear power programmes can help embarking countries in understanding the operational requirements of safety regulations, said Jean-René Jubin, a senior nuclear safety officer in the IAEA Regulatory Activities Section.

Another important support activity highlighted was the IAEA school for drafting and revising nuclear safety regulations in line with IAEA safety standards.

In his concluding remarks, David Senior, Head of the IAEA’s Regulatory Activities Section noted that regulations need to be reviewed and change over time in line with technical progress and regulatory experience, and the RCF aims to support countries in a range of regulatory activities for nuclear safety. “RCF is as strong as the global nuclear community is willing to support its goals.”

Stay in touch