IAEA team notes improvements in Romanian regulation

18 October 2017

Romania has significantly strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in recent years, a mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded. The team also made recommendations for further improvement.

An IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team completed an eight-day mission to Romania on 16 October. The mission - hosted by the government and the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN) - was a follow-up to a mission conducted in 2011.

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national radiation safety regulatory infrastructure, while recognising the responsibility of each member state to ensure nuclear and radiation safety. The missions compare regulatory technical and policy issues with IAEA safety standards and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere. The regulatory review process also draws directly upon the wide-ranging international experience and expertise of the regulatory review team members. The review results in a report that identifies good practices and provides recommendations and suggestions for improvement.

The latest mission found that most of the recommendations made by the earlier mission had been implemented. The IAEA said the Romanian government showed a strong commitment to nuclear safety and demonstrated improvements in the regulatory framework that included its approval of a National Strategy on Nuclear Safety and Security (NSNSS), progress on the revision of the national strategy for radioactive waste management and plans to increase CNCAN's operational budget and ensure appropriate staffing levels.

The 14-member team also found that CNCAN has made significant progress in several areas, including in regulation and guidance development and capabilities for responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies.

IAEA mission team leader Miguel Santini, former director of the Darlington Regulatory Program Division at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, said: "CNCAN staff has made significant efforts in the last few years to deliver on their mandate and strive to address the 2011 IRRS mission recommendations."

The team made a number of recommendations for further improving Romania's regulatory safety framework. It called for the government to expedite implementation of both the NSNSS and the national strategy for waste management, as well as to take action to facilitate the retention and hiring of experienced staff by the regulator. It also recommended that CNCAN continue establishing an integrated management system and found a national program for training emergency responders.

The IRRS team provided a preliminary report on the implementation of the 2011 findings to the Romanian government and CNCAN. The final IRRS mission report will be submitted to the government in about three months, the IAEA said. It noted Romanian authorities have said they plan to make the report public.

CNCAN chairman Rodin Traicu said the IRRS mission "will contribute to a better understanding of the international standards and good practices in regulating the nuclear sector and improving regulatory effectiveness". He added, "CNCAN recognises the importance of the recommendations and suggestions as given and is committed to further work on their implementation."

Romania has two 650 MWe (net) pressurised heavy water reactors at its Cernavoda site, which together provide about 17% of the country's electricity. It also has an operating research reactor and another under decommissioning. Romania also has a nuclear fuel fabrication plant, facilities for uranium ore mining, milling and processing, and an interim dry storage facility for used nuclear fuel.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News