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IAEA Mission Says Romania Strengthened Regulatory Safety Framework, Sees Areas for Enhancement

Bucharest, Romania

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Romania has significantly strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety, including through approval of a National Strategy on Nuclear Safety and Security (NSNSS) and progress related to the management of radioactive waste and nuclear spent fuel. The team also made new recommendations for further improvement.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded an eight-day follow-up mission to Romania on 16 October to review its implementation of recommendations and suggestions made by a 2011 mission. The team was hosted by the Government and the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN), which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety regulation in the country.

Using IAEA safety standards and international best practices, IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure, while recognizing the responsibility of each State to ensure nuclear and radiation safety.

The IRRS team found that Romania had systematically addressed the findings made by the previous mission, implementing most of its recommendations and addressing the lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan. The team said the Government showed a strong commitment to nuclear safety and demonstrated improvements in the regulatory framework that included its approval of the NSNSS, progress on the revision of the national strategy for waste management and plans to increase CNCAN’s operational budget and ensure appropriate staffing levels.

“CNCAN staff has made significant efforts in the last few years to deliver on their mandate and strive to address the 2011 IRRS mission recommendations,” said IRRS team leader Miguel Santini, former Director of the Darlington Regulatory Program Division at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. “Work remains to be done due to staffing constraints, but recent steps by the Government to amend the legislation on the safe deployment of nuclear activities will enable CNCAN to complete the work.”

Two operating nuclear power reactors provide 17 percent of Romania’s electricity. The country also has an operating research reactor and another one under decommissioning as well as a nuclear fuel fabrication plant, facilities for uranium ore mining, milling and processing, and an interim dry storage facility for nuclear spent fuel.

The IRRS team provided a preliminary report on the implementation of the 2011 findings to CNCAN and the Government to help them continue strengthening the regulatory framework. The team noted that CNCAN has made significant progress in several areas, including in regulation and guidance development and capabilities for responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies.

The team also noted areas warranting further attention. It recommended that the Government expedite implementation of both the NSNSS and the national strategy for waste management, and take action to facilitate the retention and hiring of experienced staff by the regulator. The team also recommended that CNCAN continue establishing an integrated management system and institute a national programme for training emergency responders.

The IRRS mission “will contribute to a better understanding of the international standards and good practices in regulating the nuclear sector and improving the regulatory effectiveness,” CNCAN Chairman Rodin Traicu said. “CNCAN recognizes the importance of the recommendations and suggestions as given and is committed to further work on their implementation.”

Jean-Rene Jubin, Acting Head of the Regulatory Activities Section at the IAEA, said: “In line with the recommendations of this peer review and previous IRRS missions, Romanian authorities are taking strong actions to significantly increase CNCAN’s resources. This will help the regulatory body to effectively deliver on its responsibilities.”

The final mission report will be provided to the Government of Romania in about three months. Romanian authorities told the IAEA they plan to make the report public.


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