The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) recently supported an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to The Czech Republic to evaluate their regulatory infrastructure against International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) required safety standards.
Christopher Jones, an ONR principal inspector, was part of the mission team and joined regulators from 19 different countries during the 12-day visit.
Christopher was selected for his expertise in the transportation of radioactive materials and was able to provide peer review and advice with a view to enhancing nuclear regulatory processes in the Czech Republic.
He said: “IRRS missions are always an interesting and positive experience for the experts and country involved.
“This mission allowed me to understand the Czech Republic’s regulatory system in detail, provide them with some advice and gather areas of interest for discussion back in the UK.”
Following this assessment of the country’s overall framework for nuclear safety, the report will be finalised and soon handed over to the Czech government and the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SÚJB), which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety regulation in the country.
The mission was conducted at the request of the Czech Republic government which intends to make the report public.
The report features a series of suggestions for improvements, good practices identified and recommendations to help the Czechs improve their regulation and address any gaps in compliance with IAEA requirements.
The IAEA expects member states to implement all recommendations identified by the mission team.
Since the mission concluded, the IAEA has said the Czech Republic is committed to maintaining and strengthening its robust regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety.
The team also identified areas for possible improvements including provisions for ensuring adequate regulatory oversight of safety of new facilities and activities foreseen in the national strategic energy plans such as new nuclear power plants and small modular reactors.
This is the second full scope IRRS mission hosted by the Czech Republic. The previous mission took place in 2013 with its follow up in 2017.
The Czech Republic has six operating pressurized water reactors: four VVER-440/V-213 units at Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant and two VVER-1000 units at Temelín Nuclear Power Plant.
Nuclear power accounts for almost one-third of the country’s electricity production. Spent fuel from the plants and the Prague Technical University research reactor is stored on the premises of these facilities.
Low and intermediate-level nuclear waste from the plants is stored at Dukovany, while waste from other sources is stored at two other smaller sites.