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European Union Law
04-04-2016

 

Directive Laying Down Basic Safety Standards 

Council Directive 96/29/EURATOM of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers resulting from ionizing radiation

The Directive lays down maximum permitted levels of a radiation dose which may be absorbed under normal conditions. These permitted levels are based on international research regarding the radiation effects and are defined in such a way so as to minimize harmful impact of radiation on the human body. The Directive obliges operators of nuclear facilities and radioactive waste repositories to maintain doses absorbed by workers and the general public at the level which is as low as reasonably achievable.

Provisions of the Directive are complemented by five detailed directives regarding:

  • exposure to medical sources: Directive lays down general standards for the protection of the health of individuals exposed to ionizing radiation from medical sources (for example radiotherapy);  
  • informing the general public in the event of radiological emergency: Directive establishes requirements on informing the general public about the health protection measures to be applied and steps to be taken in the event of radiation emergency; 
  • protection of outside workers: Directive concerns the operational protection of outside workers exposed to the risk of ionizing radiation. It refers for example to the protection of workers of a subcontractor company performing works on the site of a nuclear facility; 
  • shipments of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel: Directive concerns the shipment of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel and establishes the system for the exchange of applications to issue a license between competent authorities of member states;  
  • control of high-activity sealed radioactive sources and radioactive waste Directive is aimed at the protection against ionizing radiation resulting from improper control over high-activity sealed sources in the member states of the European Union.   

Nuclear Safety Directive 

Council Directive 2009/71/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations

The Directive was adopted by the Council of European Union on 25 June 2009. It obliges the EU member states to adopt basic principles for nuclear safety recognized by the international community. 

The objectives of this Directive is to establish a Community framework in order to maintain and promote the continuous improvement of nuclear safety and its regulation; and to ensure that Member States provide for appropriate national arrangements for a high level of nuclear safety to protect workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionizing radiations from nuclear installations.

The Directive also introduces an obligation of periodical self-assessment of national nuclear safety framework in the Member States and regular review meetings in the EU.

The term for the implementation of Directive to national legal framework expired on 22 July 2012.

Implementation

The Act of Parliament of 13 May 2011 on the amendment of Act – the Atomic Law and Other Acts of Parliament (Journal of Laws 2011 No 132 Item 766) implemented the provisions of the above Directive into Polish systems of laws. The objective of the amendment was also to prepare Polish laws for the introduction of nuclear power in Poland, and it particularly established licensing procedures for the construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear facilities and granting authorizations to perform certain activities in nuclear power plants.   

The amendment resulted in the requirement to issue a series of new executive regulations. Drafts of most regulations were developed by the National Atomic Energy Agency. These drafted regulations of the Council of Ministers contain provisions concerning:

  1. detailed scope of assessment with regard to land intended for the site of a nuclear facility and requirements concerning siting report for a nuclear facility – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 1025).

This regulation establishes detailed legal framework for siting of new nuclear facilities in Poland. It ensures that a chosen site, apart from economic and social criteria, must first of all meet nuclear safety criteria. It means that a given site must be free from any phenomena and factors which could pose a threat to safety of a nuclear facility.  

  1. scope and method for the performance of safety analyses prior to the submission of an application requesting the issue of a license for the construction of a nuclear facility and the scope of the preliminary safety report for a nuclear facility – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 1043).

This regulation lays down basic requirements concerning the scope and method for the performance of safety analyses of nuclear facilities and their proper documentation in the preliminary safety report.

  1. nuclear safety and radiological protection requirements which must be fulfilled by a nuclear facility design – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 1048).

The drafted provisions establish high standards ensuring nuclear safety and radiological protection to be fulfilled by design solutions of nuclear facilities, and in particular nuclear power plants. These provisions are based on the current and latest requirements in this respect recognized at the international forum.

  1. on periodical safety assessment of a nuclear facility – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 556). 

This regulation lays down framework for regular assessment and verification and permanent improvement of nuclear safety of nuclear facilities. It helps to analyze effects connected with the passage of time (aging) of systems and structures of nuclear facility, and also to analyze experience from the operation of both the assessed facility as well as other facilities operated in Poland and abroad.

  1. activities important for nuclear safety and radiological protection in an organizational unit conducting activity which consists in  commissioning, operations or decommissioning of a nuclear power plant – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 1024).

This regulation determines which activities in the nuclear power plant (in the course of commissioning, operation or decommissioning) are particularly important from the viewpoint of nuclear safety of the facility and therefore require special authorizations necessary for their performance.  

The regulation also sets out methods for conducting trainings for the staff performing these activities and methods for examining their professional skills (examination form). This regulation lists activities and not specific positions thus ensuring independence of provisions from the technology selected by the investor of a nuclear power plant.

  1. nuclear regulatory inspectors – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 1014);

This regulation determines detailed conditions for attending internship by a candidate for a nuclear regulatory inspector, procedure for attesting the performance of such internship as well as methods and procedure for performing qualification examination for a nuclear regulatory inspector.  

  1. positions important for nuclear safety and radiological protection and radiological protection inspectors – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 1022);

Provisions proposed in the draft are not much different from the ones which were applicable under the laws binding hitherto. Similarly to the regulation on nuclear regulatory inspectors, the requirement for a new regulation was the result of transferring the part of its provisions to the Act of Parliament on Atomic Law Act. Additional solutions were also adopted simplifying the procedures for granting authorizations and meeting the expectations of users of ionizing radiation sources.

  1. nuclear safety and radiological protection requirements for the stage of decommissioning of nuclear facilities and the content of a report on decommissioning of a nuclear facility – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2013, Item 270).

Provisions of this regulation lay down high standards for ensuring nuclear safety and radiological protection at the stage of decommissioning of nuclear facilities, in particular nuclear power plants.

  1. requirements for commissioning and operation of nuclear facilities – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2013, Item 281).

This regulation sets out detailed requirements concerning commissioning and operation of nuclear facilities. The provisions complement and provide details to the provisions of the Atomic Law Act in this respect. The requirements contained in the regulation are in compliance with the latest international standards.

  1. standard form of a quarterly report on the amount of fee paid for decommissioning fund – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 43).

This regulation lays down a standard form of a quarterly report on the amount of fee paid for decommissioning fund, which will be submitted to the PAA President by an organizational entity holding a license for the operation of a nuclear facility being a nuclear power plant.

  1. amount of fee for coverage of the costs of the final management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and the costs of nuclear power plant decommissioning – regulation already issued (Journal of Laws of 2012, Item 1213).

This regulation determines a fee for a decommissioning fund from which the costs of the final management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and costs of nuclear power plant decommissioning will be paid.   

Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Directive 

Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste

Management of spent fuel and radioactive waste is a very important issue for the general public. Not only does it concern the safety of today’s individuals but also the future generations. Therefore standards and norms for the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste were determined both at international and European level.  

In the European Union, suitable regulations are provided by the Council Directive  2011/70/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, adopted by the Council of European Union on 19 July 2011. It obliges the EU Member States to implement main principles and requirements, recognized by the international forum in this respect. The contents of Directive takes into account expertise contribution brought by the European Group of Nuclear Regulators ENSREG.   

The objective of the Directive is to ensure a high level of safety and not to impose excessive constraints on future generations. Additionally, the Directive ensures transparency of processes connected with the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.    

The Directive confirms the ultimate responsibility of Member States for the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, also for establishing and putting in place national policies and legal framework as well as for ensuring suitable capacities and measures for this purpose.    

Responsibility for the safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste rests within entities holding licenses for the operation of repositories. 

At the same time each Member State may on its own decide about a policy regarding the fuel cycle. Spent nuclear fuel may be re-processed and disposed. However, regardless a decision in this respect, it is necessary to consider the development of a repository for high activity waste.

Therefore every Member State is obliged to adopt national legislative, regulatory and organizational framework including a national programme for implementation of the policy on spent fuel and/or radioactive waste management. The States must inform the European Commission about the content of programme till 23 August 2015.

Furthermore, the Member States are obliged to provide the general public and workers with necessary information concerning the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and to create framework for the participation of the public in a decision-making process with regard to management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.   

The Directive also introduces an obligation for a periodical self-assessment of national safety framework in the Member States and regular review meetings in the EU. 

The Directive entered into force on 23 August 2011. Its implementation to the national legal system should be completed by 23 August 2013.

In Poland, the Minister of Economy is responsible for the implementation of the Council Directive  2011/70/EURATOM. Essential contribution to this implementation was made by the National Atomic Energy Agency. 

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