ANVS hosts international meeting on nuclear safety

The Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) hosted the plenary meeting of the Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (WENRA) in The Hague, from 24 to 26 October. It was the first time that ANVS had hosted this meeting. The meeting addressed various topics in the field of European nuclear safety and radioactive waste.

WENRA is the consultative body for regulators from European countries with nuclear power plants. The organization’s main goal is to unify these countries’ diverse national safety requirements into a set of common guidelines, known as the Safety Reference Levels. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) guidelines are also being considered in this context. The work of harmonizing these safety requirements will primarily be carried out by two working groups. One will focus on the safety of nuclear power plants while the other will address the issues of radioactive waste and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Each of the national authorities involved will then implement the harmonized requirements in their own regulations. Using this type of commitment device, the authorities in Europe can guarantee a high level of safety in nuclear power plants.

Jan van den Heuvel, Chairman of the Board at ANVS, explains that ‘By means of proper consultation at European level, WENRA sees to it that agreements are reached about what ‘state-of-the-art’ should mean in terms of the safety of nuclear reactors. ANVS, of course, makes its own contributions in this area. WENRA also gives managers from the various authorities an opportunity to get to know one another personally, which makes knowledge sharing even easier.’
Half-yearly meeting
The working groups’ progress and products will be discussed during the half-yearly plenary meetings. Other topics will be current nuclear safety issues or events, developments in legislation and regulations, the construction of (or modifications to) nuclear facilities, and the results of IAEA missions. The goal of these activities is to continuously improve nuclear safety. At the request of ENSREG (the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group), WENRA also advises one of European Commission’s consultative committees on the technical aspects of nuclear safety. This involves advice on the stress test specifications (2011), for example, and the topical peer review on ageing management (2016).

Some results achieved by the meeting
Various European countries that have no nuclear facilities, and countries outside Europe with a large number of nuclear facilities, such as Canada, Russia and Japan, also act as auditors, even though they are not members of WENRA. One result of the meeting in The Hague was that the admission of Cyprus as an auditor was approved. Last year, Rob Jansen (ANVS’s Nuclear Safety Policy Coordinator) set up an ad hoc working group to tackle harmonized requirements for research reactors. This group presented its initial findings during the meeting. Finally, in consultation with ENSREG, WENRA will submit proposals for a benchmark for the implementation of the EU Nuclear Safety Directive.