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IAEA Mission Sees Strengthening of Croatia’s Regulatory Framework; Challenges Ahead

43/2019
Zagreb, Croatia

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Croatia has made progress in strengthening its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety. The team also noted areas where challenges remain, including the resources provided for regulatory activities.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team on 29 October concluded a nine-day, follow-up mission to review Croatia’s implementation of recommendations and suggestions made during an initial IRRS mission in 2015. The follow-up mission was conducted at the request of the Government of Croatia and hosted by the Civil Protection Directorate (CPD) of the Ministry of Interior.

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national nuclear and radiation safety regulatory infrastructure, based on IAEA safety standards and international good practices, while recognizing the responsibility of each country to ensure nuclear and radiation safety.

Croatia has no nuclear power plants. It utilizes radioactive sources in medical, industrial and research applications.

The mission team found that Croatia has taken steps to address all the findings from the mission in 2015. The team noted the status of implementation of each finding to support the CPD and the Government as they continue to strengthen the national legal and regulatory framework for safety. In particular, the team identified the adoption of a Radiological and Nuclear Safety Strategy, amendments to the Act on Radiological and Nuclear Safety and issuance of ordinances under the Act as examples of how Croatia has updated its legal and regulatory safety framework in line with IAEA safety standards. The team also noted that Croatia has actively identified existing exposure situations, which may result in occupational and public exposures, and has developed a Radon Action Plan and a Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials Remediation Plan.

“The Croatian Government and the regulatory body have made considerable efforts in revising the legal and regulatory framework and further enhancing its alignment with the IAEA safety standards," said IRRS team leader Ritva Bly, Principal Adviser at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. “However, the CPD faces significant challenges related to human resources and an integrated management system.”

The team reiterated that the regulatory authorities should be provided with adequate human and financial resources to enable them to completely fulfil their statutory obligations for regulatory control, especially inspections and the licensing of complex facilities and activities. In addition, the team encouraged Croatia to continue progress toward full development and implementation of CPD’s integrated management system.

“The CPD was established after the IRRS mission in 2015. By integrating several former state organisations, the goal was to create a more functional, more efficient and more cost-effective system for radiological and nuclear safety,” said Damir Trut, Assistant Minister of the Interior. “The results of this IRRS follow-up mission give us reassurance that we have made progress in enhancing the quality and effectiveness of Croatia’s regulatory infrastructure.”  

The review team also said that progress should continue in the coordination and harmonization of emergency planning zones with regulatory authorities in Slovenia, in relation to the Krško nuclear power plant. They also noted that continued efforts were required to finalize and to approve the draft Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, establish criteria for the qualification and recognition of medical physicists, and to establish a national waste management centre.

The IRRS team comprised seven senior regulatory experts from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland and Slovenia, as well as three IAEA staff members.

The final mission report will be provided to the Government in about three months. The Government plans to make the report public.

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