Challenges for Swedish regulator

23 September 2016

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Stralsakerhetsmyndig – SSM) may face challenges as a result of falling electricity prices and a change in Sweden’s energy policy aimed at increasing renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, according to the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The final report from the IRRS team, made public by SSM, said the Swedish regulatory system is solid and continues to show good progress. However, SSM needs to prepare for possible large-scale decommissioning of nuclear power reactors. “As a reaction to the changed economic environment, the Swedish nuclear industry announced that they intended to prematurely cease the operation of four reactors,” the report noted.

“The challenge for SSM is preparing for the regulation of large-scale decommissioning.” The IRRS team said SSM should complete “a comprehensive assessment” of its resources needs. The report is the result of a nine-day follow-up mission in May 2016 to assess Sweden’s regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety, reviewing developments since a previous visit in 2012. The IRRS team found that most of the recommendations made four years ago had been implemented. The main areas of progress included improvements in SSM’s inspection activities and in the preparedness for radiological emergencies, although maintaining sufficient knowledge and skills related to nuclear and radiation safety remained a challenge. 

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