Stronger powers for French regulator

20 February 2016

France's nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), will get additional oversight powers under a number of decrees published in the government's Official Journal on 11 February. The decrees reflect the June 2006 law on transparency and security in the nuclear field (the TSN Act) and introduce several changes under the energy transition law passed last August.

ASN will have additional tools to strengthen its effective oversight of nuclear installations, including the ability to supervise safety-related work carried out by subcontractors. It will also have the power to impose fines for serious safety breaches and to set daily penalties when faced with a lapse requiring extensive work over a long period. The legislation also allows the ASN to adopt a regime with a graded approach between authorization and declaration. It also creates an easement for the public applicable to sites contaminated by radioactive substances.

In addition, ASN has been given responsibility to control the protection of certain sources of ionizing radiation - including those used in industry - against malicious acts. The regulator said it identified this as an area lacking oversight some years ago. The decrees also enhance transparency by extending certain disclosure requirements by operators of all the risks and hazards that their installations can pose. ASN said the work to translate the legislation into regulatory provisions has already begun and will continue in the coming months.

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