Joint Inspection by ANVS-FANC at COVRA

On Tuesday, 26 April, the third joint inspection by the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority (ANVS) and the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) took place at the Central Organization for Radioactive Waste (COVRA). Such joint inspections are carried out within the scope of international agreements.

The inspection focused on the COVRA’s preparatory activities for the extension of the High-level Waste Treatment and Storage Building (HABOG) and for the construction of a new Depleted Uranium Storage Building (VOG2). The ANVS examined the licences involved, to confirm that they were in compliance with the licence rules applicable to this extension. The representatives of the FANC attended this inspection in the capacity of observers. This inspection presented an excellent opportunity for the ANVS and the FANC to explore each other’s knowledge about how such construction activities are regulated.

Sharing know-how, lessons learned, and insights

For the ANVS, the safety of nuclear facilities is paramount. In this context, it continuously seeks to improve the expertise of its inspectors. By inviting foreign observers to attend their inspections (and by themselves participating, as observers, in inspections carried out by their counterparts in other countries) the inspectors have an opportunity to compare notes about methods and to exchange details of lessons learned in practical situations. The observing inspectors have a chance to examine the technical facility with their own eyes, and to gain an impression of the inspection methods used. The inspection is jointly evaluated – retrospectively – and insights are exchanged.

Guidelines

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issues guidelines concerning what needs to be inspected, using which method. Formal authority for these inspections, naturally, rests with the country in question. Mutual inspections contribute to the continuous improvement of nuclear safety and radiation protection.