Guidelines on the Safe Design and Operation of Nuclear Reactors

The Guidelines for the Safe Design and Operation of Nuclear Reactors (‘Guidelines’) provides insight in the state-of-the-art of nuclear safety for nuclear reactors. The guidelines are an important part of the frame of reference the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) uses when assessing applications for Nuclear Energy Act licences. Furthermore, it is used as frame of reference for periodic safety reviews in the nuclear sector. The first version of the Guidelines was published on 19 October 2015. The guidelines have been reviewed in 2022. The latest version of the Guidelines is published in 2023.

Reasons to renew the Guidelines

The ANVS is constantly working on ways of improving nuclear safety and radiation protection in the Netherlands. This was one of the reasons for revising the Guidelines. In addition, the following items have been an important reason:

  • The government's intention to build 2 new nuclear power plants in the Netherlands
  • Current developments in advanced reactor types other than light water-cooled reactors and developments in small modular reactors (SMRs).

The ANVS supervises existing nuclear installations and other applications where ionizing radiation (radioactivity) is used. Also, we assess licence applications for new facilities and for modifications to existing facilities. the ANVS only issues licences to new facilities that are compliant with the most modern safety requirements.

Background of the Guidelines

The Guidelines – and in particular the Dutch Safety Requirements (DSR) section – are based, among other things, on the nuclear safety requirements issued by the German government in November 2012. These requirements have been tightened up to reflect the latest insights on the safety of new nuclear reactors. In practice, this means that they incorporate the latest recommendations by the IAEA and the WENRA concerning reactor design and operation. Finnish legislation has also been used as a reference for various topics relating to the construction of new nuclear reactors. Finally, the lessons learned by the IAEA from the Fukushima disaster have been incorporated into the DSR. An example of this is the approach to natural disasters.

The evaluation in 2022 showed that the technical requirements in the Guidelines (the core document) comply with the current state of the art. Therefore, no adjustments have been made to these requirements in the 2023 version. Furthermore, the Annex on research reactors has been split in a more general annex on grading for reactors other than large scale light water reactors (alternative reactors), and an annex with specific requirements for research reactors. These specific requirements have not been changed.