IAEA Positively Concluded Two Missions To Croatia And Belgium

During the last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) successfully concluded two more missions to Europe.

Delegations to Croatia and Belgium, made by international, independent experts and IAEA staff, provided advice and reviews on different aspects linked to nuclear and radiation safety, and radioactive waste management in the two European countries.

An Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (ARTEMIS) review team concluded a nine-day mission to Croatia on 19 June. The review was carried out at the request of Croatia and hosted by the Croatian Fund for financing the decommissioning of Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

ARTEMIS reviews provide independent expert assessments, which can cover all aspects and topics related to managing radioactive waste and spent fuel, decommissioning and remediation. Reviews are based on the IAEA Safety Standards, technical guidance, and international good practices.

In this case, the ARTEMIS review evaluated Croatia’s national framework, strategy and national programme for fulfilling the country’s obligations for safe and sustainable management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. The ARTEMIS review gave special emphasis to the plans for the management of radioactive waste from the Krško NPP (co-owned with Slovenia) and the plans for the establishment of a Radioactive Waste Management Centre at Čerkezovac in Croatia.

The IAEA mission said that Croatia is committed to addressing the challenges of managing its radioactive waste. The review identified specific areas for additional efforts including the development of arrangements for the safe and secure centralized storage of radioactive waste.

Among them, the ARTEMIS review team recommended and suggested:

  • Providing clarity and consistency on the roles of the relevant organizations, on planning assumptions and on programme milestones to facilitate communication and decision-making.
  • Providing arrangements for the safe and secure centralized storage of institutional waste in Croatia.
  • Developing guidance stating regulatory expectations for safety assessments to support authorization of radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities.
  • Addressing the human resource needs of the regulatory body and the Fund.

Read the full IAEA Press Release.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded a 12-day mission to Belgium from 19 to 30 June.

The mission was conducted at the request of the Government of Belgium and hosted by the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) and Bel V. It was part of the second IRRS cycle to Belgium.

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure while recognizing the responsibility of each country for nuclear and radiation safety.

The IRRS team identified a good practice regarding the oversight of interfaces between safety and security. It particularly noted the conduct of annual inspections on this subject at nuclear power plants. The team considered that the main challenge in Belgium was to identify and ensure the necessary competencies and adequate financial resources of the regulatory body due to the evolving nuclear energy policy in the country.

The IRRS team identified several areas of good performance:

  • The development and effective use of advanced IT systems for managing the regulatory activities.
  • The development and implementation of the assessment of leadership for safety and safety culture within Bel V.
  • The way the regulatory body takes into consideration research and development results when preparing regulations and guides for radioactive waste management, including deep geological disposal.

The IRRS team also made several recommendations to further improve the regulatory system and the effectiveness of the regulatory functions in line with IAEA safety standards, such as:

  • The Government should ensure that its decisions relating to the nuclear energy policy and the financial resources are made in a timely manner so that FANC fulfils its mandate under any circumstances.
  • The regulatory body should complete the regulations in relation to site evaluation for future nuclear facilities.
  • The regulatory body should revise the regulations relating to specific aspects of decommissioning; radiation sources facilities and activities; occupational, medical and public exposures; transport of radioactive material; and emergency preparedness and response.

Read the full IAEA Press Release.