An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Norway is committed to strengthening its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety. The team also noted areas for further enhancement.
The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team on 28 June concluded a two-week mission to review the regulatory safety framework in Norway. The mission was conducted at the request of the Government of Norway and hosted by the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA).
The IRRS team also met with representatives of the Ministry of Health and Care Services, the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Using IAEA safety standards and international good practices, IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure, while recognizing the responsibility of each country to ensure nuclear and radiation safety.
“Norway has demonstrated a strong commitment to nuclear and radiation safety,” said team leader Johan Anderberg, Director at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. “This team has identified a number of opportunities to further enhance the regulatory framework in order to promote efficiency and consistency while maintaining a high level of safety.”
Norway operates two research reactors for production of medical isotopes and research purposes. The decommissioning of both research reactors is expected to begin in the near future. The country has a disposal facility for low and medium level radioactive waste from radioactive sources used in industry and medicine as well as that generated by the research reactors. Norway also plans new medical irradiation facilities at hospitals in Oslo and Bergen.
Anne Grethe Erlandsen, State Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Care Services, said the mission provided an opportunity to receive input from “international experts regarding the regulatory framework on nuclear safety and radiation protection, helping us to better align it with IAEA safety standards.” Ole Harbitz, Director General of DSA, added: “We will now revise our action plan to follow up on the important recommendations and suggestions from the IRRS mission.”
The review covered the following areas: responsibilities and functions of the government; the global nuclear safety regime; responsibilities and functions of the regulatory body; DSA’s management system and core regulatory processes including authorization, review and assessment, inspection, enforcement and the development of regulations and guides. Facilities, activities and exposure situations covered in the review included radiation source applications, research reactors, fuel cycle facilities, waste management facilities, decommissioning, transport, occupational exposure, medical exposure, and public and existing exposure. Regulatory aspects of emergency preparedness and response were also reviewed as well as the interface between nuclear safety and nuclear security.
The 20-member team comprised 16 senior regulatory experts from 15 countries as well as three IAEA staff members and one observer.
The team identified the following as good practices:
- Norway’s long term international partnerships on strengthening global nuclear safety.
- The formal cooperation of Norway’s regulatory authorities in health, safety and environmental protection to harmonize inspections and perform joint inspections.
The team provided several recommendations and suggestions aimed at enhancing Norway’s regulatory framework, including:
- The Government should establish a comprehensive national policy and strategy for safety.
- The Government should establish a national policy and strategy for spent fuel and radioactive waste management, including decommissioning.
- The DSA should finalize the development of an integrated management system across the entire organization.
The final mission report will be provided to the Government in about three months. The Government plans to make the report public.