Publication of the WGWD reports on “waste and spent fuel storage safety reference levels” and on “decommissioning safety reference levels”

WENRA is today re-publishing revised versions of two of its reports covering its Safety Reference Levels (SRLs) for Waste Storage and for Decommissioning. These reports were last published in 2014 and 2015 respectively and the new versions provide updates on the benchmarking of the national regulatory frameworks of 18 WENRA members that has been carried out since the previous reports.

Simon Morgan from the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation and Chair of WENRA’s Working Group on Waste & Decommissioning (WGWD) said: “One of WENRA’s roles is to help national regulators compare how they are doing against one another within Europe, and to drive further improvements. In the more than twenty years that we have been doing this we have established almost three hundred Safety Reference Levels (or SRLs) in the areas of radioactive waste management and nuclear decommissioning. These are standards for regulators and for national legal frameworks, which build on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Safety Standards as a baseline, but also incorporate the ‘best practices’ of WENRA members so that we can drive further improvements right across Europe. We check how each country is doing and give a rating of A, B or C against each Safety Reference Level. For C ratings where improvements are needed to achieve current best practice, countries establish national action plans and when these are implemented they come back to us to be benchmarked again. And we do all of this in a transparent, cooperative and friendly way aimed at helping national regulators to improve. I am very pleased with the progress that has been made by WENRA’s members to further improve the already-high ratings against the SRLs for Waste Storage and Decommissioning. This work has a direct effect on improving regulatory requirements and standards right across Europe, and we look forward to extending this work to our new members and associate members in Poland, Canada and Japan.”

Sven Keßen from Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) gGmbH in Germany and author of WGWD’s Waste Storage report said: “Back in 2014, when the last update of the Storage Report was finalised, already ten of the then 17 WENRA members had successfully concluded the benchmarking of their national storage regulations and had shown for their regulations to be in full concordance with WENRA’s SRLs. Since then, the remaining members as well as newcomer WENRA member SNRIU of Ukraine have submitted further proof of regulatory progress towards fulfilment of the SRLs. As a result, 13 WENRA members have now shown full implementation of the storage SRL set in their national regulatory framework, while even the remaining five members show remarkable agreement between their regulations and SRL requirements, with often very few gaps to close in a manner befitting their national regulations. This progress over the last years, in the face of often challenging circumstances for international working groups like WGWD, not only demonstrates the continued commitment of WENRA members to the process, it is further evidence for WENRA’s SRL approach to be robust and versatile in the harmonisation of regulations through-out WENRA and to be ready for new WENRA members, full and associated, to join the process.”

To the WGWD Report on Waste and Spent Fuel Storage Safety Reference Levels

Isabel Sierra from Eidgenössisches Nuklearsicherheitsinspektorat (ENSI) in Switzerland and author of WGWD’s Decommissioning report said: “The purpose of this version 2.3 of the decommissioning report is to provide the reader with the update on the implementation of the decommissioning safety reference levels in the regulatory systems of WENRA member countries since the release of the latest version in April 2015, as well as to outline any open issues. We have also done extensive work to update all related IAEA safety standard’s paragraphs on which the decommissioning safety reference levels are based. During this period, there have been some countries that have made considerable efforts to update and revise their legal bases to implement the decommissioning safety reference levels in their regulatory systems thus also contributing to legal harmonisation through-out WENRA member countries.”

To the WGWD Report on Decommissioning Safety Reference Levels