On Friday, 20 September 2013, the IAEA hosted the Fourth Meeting of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) as a side event to the 57th General Conference. The RCF is a Member State driven organization that fosters State to State regulatory cooperation in nuclear energy with a Secretariat provided by the IAEA. The RCF has 26 members including the IAEA, the European Commission (EC) and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/NEA). The meeting opened with a review of the RCF, its objectives and activities as well as detailed guidelines on becoming a member of the Forum.
The RCF was formed in 2010 as a mechanism by which Member States embarking on nuclear power programs can attain efficient regulatory bodies through support from those Member States with established nuclear programs. One of the objectives of the RCF is the optimization of limited resources through the harmonization of international safety standards and best practices made available for recipient States. Member States wishing to join the RCF must conduct self-assessments and present the Forum with a detailed analysis of their support needs, support gaps and the type of support it currently receives. The RCF uses this information to draft an Action Plan designed specifically for each Member State.
A successful example of the creation of an RCF Action Plan was presented by Mr. Maciej Jurkowski, Chief Nuclear Regulatory Inspector of the National Atomic Energy Agency of Poland (PAA). Mr. Jurkowski discussed the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to his country in April of 2013. During the mission a team of international experts and five staff members of the IAEA held discussions and interviews with PAA staff and ministry officials, conducted site visits and observed inspections.
Another example of support organized through the RCF was a 15-week Safety Assessment Review Training held in Viet Nam in 2012 with funding provided by the EC and the IAEA extra-budgetary system under the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI).
Mr. Henri Pauwels, from the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), in his presentation discussed training and tutoring for regulatory nuclear safety. Mr. Paewels also discussed how the INSC and the RCF were working in conjunction to address Action Plans for Jordan and Viet Nam. The meeting concluded with a panel of seven international experts, all members of the RCF, discussing their country's experience building robust regulatory programs for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.