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IAEA Mission Reviews Finnish Regulatory Framework for Nuclear Safety

2015/22

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of senior regulators today concluded an eight-day mission to review the regulatory framework for radiation and nuclear safety in Finland. The team reviewed progress in addressing the findings from an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission conducted in 2012.

The IRRS team concluded that Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) had strengthened its oversight and made significant progress, addressing 26 of 29 of the findings issued by the 2012 mission. This is a significant accomplishment in less than three years, demonstrating commitment to an effective implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards.

The IRRS team also raised two new recommendations to the Government: to confirm in the law that decommissioning of a nuclear installation and closure of a disposal facility requires a change to the licence; and to support future research to ensure that Finland’s and STUK’s high level of competence in radiation safety is maintained.

“The mission has confirmed the international recognition of STUK as a credible regulatory body, continuously seeking improvement,” said IRRS team leader Philippe Jamet, Commissioner of the French nuclear safety authority (ASN). “The Government has made significant improvements to strengthen the legal independence of STUK, although important steps are still ahead.”

“Follow-up missions are important to ensure that findings from the original mission are addressed in a timely manner,” STUK Director General Petteri Tiippana said. “This peer review strengthened our view that efforts made in Finland have been right. Work continues and therefore discussions with the team have been valuable and beneficial.”

After reviewing progress made since 2012, the IRRS team made the following conclusions:

  • The Government should now embed in law STUK as a fully independent regulatory body;
  • The Government should further improve arrangements for the coordination of information to the public and media during emergencies;
  • STUK should increase its efforts to ensure that it manages its different regulatory areas consistently;
  • STUK should clarify the responsibility of the licensee to monitor the environment and clearly establish STUK’s responsibility to independently verify the licensee’s results;
  • STUK is commended for the development of an IT tool which captures all its regulatory decisions and the reasons for them, and will also facilitate consistency in the future.

“STUK has made considerable progress in implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards and best international practices,” Greg Rzentkowski, Head of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, said. “To further enhance the regulatory framework in Finland, the Government should ensure that STUK is fully independent in its regulatory decision making.”

The team met with senior management and staff of Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Ministry of Interior and the President of the STUK’s Advisory Commission on nuclear safety. The nine-member review team included experts from Czech Republic, France, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, as well as staff from IAEA.

The mission’s final report will be provided to STUK in about three months. STUK has informed the IAEA that it will make the report available to the public.

About IRRS Missions

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure, while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in this area. This is done through consideration of regulatory, technical and policy practices, with comparisons against IAEA Safety Standards, and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere.

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