IRRS recognizes improvement at Swiss regulator

20 April 2015

The Swiss nuclear regulator has addressed most of the issues identified in a late 2011 mission to review the country's nuclear regulatory framework, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service completed a follow up 10-day mission to review the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) on 17 April.

It found that over the past three years ENSI has enhanced co-operation among national regulatory authorities and international organizations; enhanced its regulatory framework; and improved its review and assessment programme by requiring licensees to conduct independent verification of all safety information received from contractors.

In its preliminary report the seven-member IRRS team also said that ENSI has made “substantial progress" in its inspection process; developed an approach for a decommissioning regulatory programme; implemented a new emergency classification system; and enhanced its communication capabilities.

"The strong commitment of ENSI to address the issues raised in the 2011 IRRS mission is evidenced by the progress made," said Mission Team Leader Jean-Christophe Niel, director general of the French Nuclear Safety Authority. "The team found ENSI to be a mature, competent nuclear safety regulator."

In a new recommendation, the team called for the Swiss government to strengthen ENSI's authority and status as the sole technical nuclear safety authority that is empowered to issue legally binding technical safety requirements and licence conditions on nuclear and radiation safety and security.

Swiss authorities are considering how to best address the two recommendations and one suggestion that remain open from the 2011 IRRS mission. These are related to setting appropriate thresholds for prosecution of violations, building and maintaining competence of bodies with safety-related responsibilities, and the development of a comprehensive national radiation emergency response plan.

The final mission report is due to be submitted to ENSI and the government in July. ENSI said it intends to make the report public.

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