IAEA mission reviews Finnish regulatory framework

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A mission from the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Finland has strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety and has made progress in recent years. last years. The team, which concluded a 12-day mission to Finland on October 14, also identified possible areas for improvement, including accelerating a planned amendment of legislation so that it covers all stages of the cycle. life of nuclear and radiological facilities. The mission was conducted at the request of the Finnish government and hosted by the national regulator, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK.

The team, comprising 18 senior regulatory experts from 14 Member States, one observer, as well as four IAEA staff members, reviewed the regulatory oversight of facilities and activities using nuclear materials and radiation sources, including emergency preparedness and response, decommissioning, and occupational, medical and public exposure control activities. “Our review concluded that Finland has a robust and up-to-date regulatory framework that aligns with IAEA safety standards,” said Sylvie Cadet-Mercier, IRRS team leader and commissioner of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). “I am also impressed by STUK’s constant quest for excellence without falling into the trap of complacency.”

“I am very satisfied with the result of the IRRS mission. We were assessed by a team of top experts and gained valuable insights to help us do better,” said Petteri Tiippana, Managing Director of STUK. “The outcome of the mission demonstrates the real value of peer reviews. Although we did our homework very carefully before the mission, the IRRS team found other areas for improvement. In other words, you may have “blind spots” that you are unable to identify. »

The IRRS team has identified several good practices, including:

  • Implementation of a systematic model for regular monitoring of the operators’ overall safety performance.
  • Media training in nuclear and radiation safety to raise public awareness.
  • Development of a publicly accessible information system on radiation protection legislation which includes STUK guidance and expectations for licensees.

The IRRS team made several recommendations and suggestions to further strengthen continuous improvement and further improve the Finnish regulatory system and the efficiency of regulatory functions in line with IAEA safety standards. These included for the government

  • Amendment of legislation to include all stages of the life cycle of nuclear and radiological facilities, from location to release from regulatory control.
  • Guarantee an adequate level of national skills in radiation protection.
  • Strengthening coordination between organizations in emergency preparedness and response.
  • Application of separate responsibilities for the operation and monitoring of state-owned radioactive waste.

Recommendations and suggestions for STUK included:

  • Continuous development and implementation of a systematic training program for inspectors.
  • Reinforcement of its nuclear and radiological safety regulations and guides.
  • Reinforcement of its monitoring of the transport of radioactive materials.
  • Expanded its emergency drill requirements to cover all regulated facilities and activities, including transportation.

The mission will be followed by an IAEA Integrated Review Service for the Management, Decommissioning and Remediation of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (ARTEMIS) mission – scheduled for November. The previous IRRS mission took place in 2012 and its follow-up in 2015. The final mission report will be provided to STUK in approximately three months. Finland plans to make the report public.


Image: The IRRS mission was organized by the Radiation & Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) in Vantaa, Finland (courtesy of STUK)

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