- Regulatory Decision Making
- Nuclear Safety Assessment
- Inspection Activities
- Regulatory Activities over RAW and NM
- Supervision of the Radwaste Shipments
- Supervision of the management of radwaste
- Supervision of Nuclear Material Management
- Emergency Preparedness
- Qualification and Training
- Building Authority for Nuclear Installations
- International Cooperation
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization within the United Nations system with its headquarters in Vienna and serves as the global focal point for cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Its mission is to promote research and development for peaceful purposes in the nuclear field, and to ensure the exchange of scientific and technical information. The IAEA promotes the achievement of a high level of nuclear safety and the protection of health and the environment from the adverse effects of ionizing radiation. The IAEA assists its Member States in developing policies on the use of science and technology for the peaceful uses of atomic energy, and provides them independent assessments and evaluations in the area of nuclear and radiation safety. Its role in the field of non-proliferation control, and administration and implementation of safeguards is indispensable. Slovakia has been a member of the IAEA since 1993. Cooperation with the IAEA is one of Slovakia´s priorities within the sphere of peaceful utilization of nuclear energy. An important activity is the implementation of the IAEA´s Technical Cooperation Programme. The Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic (ÚJD SR) is the coordinator of this cooperation and ensures the participation of Slovak experts in technical meetings, seminars, workshops, training courses and technical meetings, coordinates the preparation of expert opinions and reports, expert assistance and equipment deliveries. The objectives and priority areas for technical cooperation between the IAEA and the Slovak Republic for the period 2022 – 2027 are set out in the Country Programme Framework.
The Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD/NEA) is an intergovernmental agency in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy that facilitates co-operation among countries with advanced nuclear technology infrastructures to seek excellence in nuclear safety, technology, science, environment and law. The OECD/NEA operates within the framework of the OECD and is located just outside Paris. The OECD/NEA membership currently consists of countries from Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Australia. It was established by the Council of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) (predecessor of the OECD) in February 1958 as the European Nuclear Energy Agency (ENEA) and its name was changed in 1972 to the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) to reflect its growing membership beyond Europe’s boundaries.
The objective of the OECD/NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It provides authoritative assessments and forges common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD analyses in areas such as energy and the sustainable development of low-carbon economies. The OECD/NEA provides its member countries with extensive nuclear expertise at the highest level and of global importance. The OECD/NEA member countries cooperate with each other on the basis of mutual trust and understanding. Its greatest benefits are the depth and quality of activities addressing the specific needs of its member countries, flexibility, the ability to address the most topical issues in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and working methods based on mutual understanding and problem-sharing between member countries. An accession of the Slovak Republic to the OECD/NEA in 2002, thus becoming its member country, means fulfilment of the Manifesto of the Government of the Slovak Republic valid at that time. A membership of the Slovak Republic in the OECD/NEA contributes to strengthening an international position of the Slovak Republic in the environment of safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Based on Art. 29(2) of the Act No. 575/2001 Coll. on the Organisation of the Activity of the Government and on the Organisation of the Central State Administration as amended and the Resolution of the Government of the Slovak Republic No. 245/2001 on the Proposal to Approve the Accession of the Slovak Republic to the OECD/NEA, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic (ÚJD SR) is responsible for cooperation of the Slovak Republic with the OECD/NEA and ensures fulfilment of the obligations of the Slovak Republic arising out of this membership. Since the accession of the Slovak Republic to the OECD/NEA, the designated representatives of the Slovak Republic have actively been participating in the work of the OECD/NEA in the OECD/NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, all its standing technical committees and selected working and expert groups. The Chairperson of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic Ms Marta Žiaková held the post of Vice-Chair to the Bureau of the OECD/NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy from 2012 to 2015 and since January 2016, she has been Chair of the OECD/NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy.
The Slovak Republic is also engaged in the work of selected joint projects of the OECD/NEA, namely Halden Reactor Project (HRP), Thai Experiments on Mitigation Measures, and Source Term Issues to Support Analysis and Further Improvement of Severe Accident Management Measures (THEMIS) Project, Component Operational Experience, Degradation and Ageing Programme (CODAP), Cable Ageing Data and Knowledge (CADAK) Project, International benchmarking project on fast-running software tools used to model fission product releases during accidents at nuclear power plants (CNSC CAPS), and Co-operative Program for the Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information on Nuclear Installations Decommissioning Projects (CPD). A list of all joint projects of the OECD/NEA is available directly on the OECD/NEA website.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, and opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996. The Treaty bans all nuclear explosions on Earth (in the atmosphere, underwater or underground). Despite strong international support, the Treaty has not yet entered into force. One hundred and eighty-five countries have signed the Treaty, of which 170 have also ratified it. However, in order to enter into force, specific 44 „nuclear countries“ must sign and ratify the Treaty. Eight obligatory ratifications are still missing: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the USA. India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the Treaty. Until that time, the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO (PrepCom) based in Vienna is in charge. It consists of a plenary body and several working groups composed of all State Parties, and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS). PrepCom performs the necessary preparatory work towards an effective implementation of the CTBT. One of PrepCom‘s main tasks is to build the global verification regime of the Treaty, capable of detecting and characterizing any nuclear explosion anywhere on Earth. The verification regime is built on three main pillars: International Monitoring System (IMS), International Data Centre (IDC), and On-Site Inspection (OSI). So far, 311 monitoring facilities and laboratories out of the planned 337 are built around the globe (radionuclide, seismic, infrasound and hydroacoustic stations). The verification regime is now complete at more than 90 %. Government of the Slovak Republic ratified the CTBT on March 3, 1998, and mandated the chairman of the UJD SR to ensure (according to the Article III of the Treaty) the execution of the function of the national authority for the cooperation with the CTBTO. In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and other national institutions, UJD SR ensures that the relevant tasks resulting from plenary sessions of the PrepCom and its working groups are completed. The Slovak Republic actively participates in the completion of the verification regime mainly through hosting various training activities under auspices of the CTBTO on its territory. Until today, nine field exercises and courses for future inspectors of CTBTO have been conducted in Slovakia. This long-term cooperation between the CTBTO and the Slovak Republic has also a legal base – on 18 November 2015, a bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Slovak Republic and the Preparatory Commission for the Organization of the Comprehensive Test-Ban-Treaty on Mutual Cooperation for Training and Exercise Activities of the Commission Related to On-Site Inspections was signed. This agreement is effective from 12 August 2016.
ÚJD SR is a member of the Forum of regulatory bodies for Nuclear Safety of countries operating WWER-type nuclear power plants and is one of the founding members of this association. The Forum was established in 1993 by the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the State Regulators of Countries Operating WWER-Type Nuclear Reactors and aims to promote the improvement of the level of nuclear safety and protection against the adverse effects of ionizing radiation. It is a platform for the exchange of information and experience in this field and members meet at regular annual intervals. Working groups are set up within the Forum to address partial issues.
ÚJD SR has been a member of the association called the Network of Regulators of Countries with Small Nuclear Program (NERS) since 1998. NERS is an international organization that brings together nuclear and radiation safety oversight of states with a small nuclear program and is a forum for exchanging information and experience in overseeing nuclear and radiation safety. NERS members are the regulatory authorities of Argentina, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, South Africa, Hungary, Netherlands, Pakistan, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Switzerland. NERS members meet regularly at annual intervals to discuss issues of common interest.
WENRA is an independent association of Western European Nuclear Regulators focused on the creation, implementation and dissemination of harmonized model levels of nuclear safety. It currently has 18 full-fledged members, including ÚJD SR. In addition to full members, the regulatory authorities of other countries (with the status of associate member or observer) also participate in WENRA activities. The mission of the WENRA association is the cooperation of regulators to increase and harmonize nuclear safety. ÚJD SR actively works in two working groups (WG) – Reactor Harmonisation Working Group (RHWG) and Working Group on Waste and Decommissioning (WGWD).
The aim of the working group is to continuously increase the safety of nuclear reactors and to reduce unnecessary differences in Member States’ safety standards. As part of its activities, the WG has created safety reference levels (SRL) for existing nuclear power plants. Member States have committed themselves to implementing these requirements into their regulatory framework. Based on new experience and knowledge, the original edition of the SRL from 2006 underwent several revisions. The most significant revision was the SRL from 2014. Their implementation into the regulatory framework is subject to regular review. The latest revision is the SRL edition with the 2020 designation issued in February 2021.
In addition to the safety requirements for existing nuclear power plants, the WG also began to address the issue of safety of the new-builds.
The aim of the working group is to harmonize national legislation with reference levels, which have been gradually developed for the following areas:
- RAW and SNF storage
- Decommissioning of nuclear installations
- RAW disposal
- RAW treatment
RAW and SNF Storage
Already in 2012 during the 29th Plenary Session of the subgroup, it was stated that the Slovak Republic is in full compliance with all reference levels for RAW and SF storage. More information is available in Part II of “The Storage Report (v2.2)“.
Decommissioning of nuclear installations
Subsequently, in 2013, the Slovak Republic achieved full compliance with all reference levels for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. More information is available in Part III of “Decommissioning Safety Reference Levels Report (v2.2)“.
The assessment of the level of harmonization of national legislation with reference levels for disposal took place in 2021. As a preliminary statement, out of 108 reference levels for RAW disposal, the Slovak Republic is in full compliance with 105 reference levels, and for 3 reference levels (Di-31, Di-52, Di-69), a national action plan needs to be drawn up for their full harmonization.
The most recent set of reference levels for RAW treatment was published in 2018 and it consists of 71 reference levels. The review process is scheduled for the 47th Plenary Session of the WGWD (March 2022). After that, a national action plan will be developed for full implementation of reference levels for RAW treatment.