Establishing the safety infrastructure for a nuclear power programme

Countries considering or embarking on a nuclear power programme or expanding an existing programme need to ensure that they establish sufficient infrastructure to handle the long-term commitment to safety. The IAEA’s Specific Safety Guide Establishing the Safety Infrastructure for a Nuclear Power Programme (SSG-16) supports by showing how to do so in line with IAEA safety standards.

SSG-16 provides guidance on how to establish safety infrastructure in line with IAEA safety standards and is compatible with the IAEA Milestones Approach. It identifies 200 safety-related actions to be taken during the first three phases of developing a nuclear power programme – that is, the phases before the plant is ready for start operation. The actions lay a foundation for a high level of safety during a nuclear power plant’s lifetime, including waste management and decommissioning.

The main phases of safety infrastructure development over the lifetime of a nuclear power plant, as outlined in SSG-16

The Safety Guide provides a roadmap for the systematic and progressive implementation of relevant IAEA safety standards.

It is organized around 20 essential safety elements:

  • National policy and strategy
  • Global nuclear safety regime
  • Legal framework
  • Regulatory framework
  • Transparency and openness
  • Funding and financing
  • External support organizations and contractors
  • Leadership and management for safety
  • Human resources development
  • Research for safety and regulatory purposes
  • Radiation protection
  • Safety assessment
  • Safety of radioactive waste, spent fuel management and decommissioning
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Operating organization
  • Site survey, site selection and evaluation
  • Design safety
  • Preparation for commissioning
  • Transport safety
  • Interfaces with nuclear security

The Safety Guide targets individuals and organizations involved in the preparation and implementation of a national nuclear power programme. Published in 2011, it will be updated as necessary.

The Integrated Review of Infrastructure for Safety (IRIS) methodology and software tool assists in the implementation of the Safety Guide’s roadmap.

The IAEA also assists Member States in the implementation of SSG-16 through training material.


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