Duties of the ANVS
The ANVS has five fields of activity:
- Nuclear safety
- Radiation protection
- Emergency preparedness and response to radiation incidents and nuclear accidents
- Security and safeguards (fulfilment of non-proliferation obligations)
- Policy preparation and the implementation of waste policy
In the field of nuclear safety, the ANVS works to ensure that the operation of nuclear facilities is governed by appropriate conditions and that licensees abide by those conditions. The ultimate aim of the ANVS’s activities in this area is to realise the best possible protection for workers, local residents and the environment against the risks associated with nuclear facilities. Such facilities are used for nuclear power generation, for research, for the production of isotopes for medical and industrial applications, for the enrichment or storage of fissionable materials and for the collection, processing and storage of radioactive waste. In order to demonstrate that their facilities are safe, operators are obliged to produce and maintain detailed safety analyses. The ANVS reviews operators’ analyses in the light of the latest national and international insights regarding nuclear safety and environmental protection.
The aim of the ANVS’s radiation protection activities is to make sure that humans and the environment receive the best possible protection against the potentially harmful effects of exposure to ionising radiation. In pursuit of that aim, the ANVS works closely with various other organisations, including the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, which are involved in protecting patients and workers respectively. Exposure to ionising radiation (popularly known as ‘radiation’) can result from the use of X-rays and radioactive materials in medical research or treatment. Radiation can also come from radioactive materials and/or fissionable materials used in industry and in research. Relevant activities include the production of medical isotopes for health care, the shipment of radioactive materials and fissionable materials and the processing of radioactive waste. There are natural sources of ionising radiation as well, such as the radioactive elements radon and thoron. During the licensing process, the ANVS checks for compliance with the basic principles of radiation protection. These basic principles are justification, optimisation and dose limits. Here, checks are made to determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, or whether the best possible protection is achieved at a reasonable cost and effort, and that the dose limits are not exceeded. On inspection, an assessment can then be made to determine whether these principles have actually been adhered to, as specified in the licence.
Emergency preparedness and response
Working with its partners, the ANVS ensures that the Netherlands is as well prepared as possible for any emergencies involving nuclear safety and radiation protection. Through participation in various national and international networks, the ANVS makes sure that information is exchanged in the event of a radiation incident with cross-border implications.
Security and safeguards
The ANVS oversees the security of nuclear facilities and radioactive materials. The task involves combating the sabotage of processes and the theft of information, materials and equipment at nuclear facilities, as well as during the shipment and use of radioactive materials. There is a major focus on the potential impact of cybercrime. In the field of safeguards, the ANVS checks to ensure that nuclear energy, nuclear materials and associated information are not being used for non-peaceful purposes. In that context, the International Atomic Energy Agency and Euratom play important roles in terms of oversight and control. Together with various ministries, the ANVS is involved in defining, establishing and enforcing measures to secure nuclear materials and information. Various national and international agreements are in place to prevent the proliferation of certain types of nuclear material and knowledge that could be used for non-peaceful purposes.
In the various fields, the ANVS performs the following tasks:
- Policy, legislation and regulation
The ANVS develops policies for the performance of its own tasks, and advises the Minister on more generic policy. Furthermore, the ANVS advises the Minister on legislation and regulations, and itself draws up rules with a technical or organisational content.
The ANVS oversees and assesses licensing procedures. Providing the applicant meets all applicable legislation and regulations, then the ANVS will issue a licence for the purpose in question. This could involve the use of radiation-emitting equipment, the shipment of radioactive waste, or the establishment or modification of nuclear facilities. The ANVS is also responsible for recording notifications concerning supervised practices. In addition, the ANVS registers and accredits health physicists and radiation practitioners.
- Supervision and enforcement
The ANVS supervises the use of radiation-emitting equipment, the shipment of radioactive materials, the operation of nuclear facilities and conformity with security and safeguard requirements. In appropriate cases, it intervenes to enforce compliance.
- Safety assessment
Nuclear facilities and radioactive sources must always be operated and used safely. The ANVS assesses whether practices are permissible and whether safety is adequately assured.
- Emergency response
The ANVS manages the nationwide advisory network that provides a situation sketch of radiation safety accidents, and advises on any action that may be required. In the context of emergency preparedness, the ANVS draws up plans and coordinates with the Security Regions, neighbouring countries and other partners. Exercises are regularly held and a round-the-clock standby service is provided.
The ANVS coordinates research in radiation protection and nuclear safety within nuclear facilities, government organisations and companies that work with radiation. It also makes the requisite knowledge available.
- Communication and information
The ANVS communicates transparently, proactively and factually with the public, the Security Regions, local authorities, the business community and the media. It provides information about matters such as licensing procedures, legislation and regulations, and abnormal events in the operation of nuclear facilities. The ANVS monitors the physical environment to meet, as effectively as possible, the information requirements of stakeholders and others with an interest in nuclear safety and radiation protection. The ANVS meets this need by using the website (www.anvs.nl) as an important means of communication.