For the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic (UJD) year 1998 was a very significant year and meant its further strengthening, as well as increase in both domestic and international recognition. The most important event was the adoption of a new law on peaceful use of nuclear energy by the National Council of Slovak Republic. The law identifies rights and obligations of users of nuclear energy and nuclear materials, as well as the responsibilities and powers of UJD. The law is compatible with the European Union (EU) legislation in this area and it contains also responsibilities resulting from international conventions.
Another milestone was the release of the National Report prepared according to the Convention on Nuclear Safety. According to this Convention which 49 countries have ratified so far, including all EU countries, each country is responsible for safety assessment and safe operation of its nuclear power plants. In 1998 an intensive international cooperation continued mainly with the IAEA, but also with the European Commission (EC), Switzerland, USA, Great Britain, Finland, Japan, France, Germany, as well as with all neighboring countries. Slovakia was re-elected as member of the Board of Governors of the IAEA and the chairman of UJD was designated as a governor.
The Project "SWISSLOVAK" aimed at strengthening the independence and credibility of UJD continued very successfully. In September an agreement was signed with Ukraine on mutual information exchange and cooperation. Slovakia has similar agreements signed with all its neighboring countries and every year there are working meetings organized for information exchange. Cooperation with the European Commission continues through the assistance to regulatory authorities, regular meetings of all European Regulators (CONCERT), and by activities within the group aimed for coordinating assistance in the area of nuclear safety (NUSAC), in which the chairman of UJD was in a position of a vice-chairman.
Also in 1998 as in the past, UJD invited international missions of experts to perform an independent safety assessment of Slovak NPPs. Missions evaluated all nuclear power plants, their results are very positive and such practice contributes to a greater openness and transparency of the regulator's activities, as well as to improvement in the operational safety and design safety improvements. Among these missions a significant position was taken by the mission IRRT which was evaluated UJD itself, its position, quality and capabilities of inspectors, as well as the legislation. Conclusions from this evaluation were favorable for UJD.
UJD employees were working as experts on international missions of the IAEA, EC and the US NRC in Spain, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Kazachstan, Armenia, Cuba and Ukraine, which proves the high quality and recognition of UJD experts by these international or foreign organizations.
Another important activity, including international impact, was the assessment of readiness for commissioning unit 1 of NPP Mochovce (EMO NPP), as well as the supervision itself during commissioning. Results showed that UJD is prepared also for such a demanding activity and it is ready to manage it. Commissioning was demanding by the fact that it was accompanied by an extensive program of safety improvements, which has no resemblance in other similar type of power plants. This made EMO NPP a pilot power plant for safety improvements of units WWER 440/213. However, it is necessary to note that in this process UJD could also use an international assistance of technical organizations from France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
Gradual reconstruction of units 1 and 2 of Bohunice NPP continued to be realized by the REKON consortium (a consortium of the Nuclear Power Plants Research Institute Trnava and Siemens). EBO NPP V-1 has been gradually meeting all the requirements of UJD which were set in 1994 and although it is the youngest of all similar units, it represents a pilot nuclear power plant in the area of safety improvements with the most extensive program among units WWER 440/230. By completing the program of reconstruction all recommendations of the IAEA will be met.
Another important activity of UJD was to inform public on what is happening in nuclear energy sector and nuclear safety. In 1998 there was a significant increase in the frequency of press conferences, contributions for press agencies, as well as presentations in electronic media. UJD wanted to assure the citizens that the operation of nuclear installations in Slovakia is under a permanent and strict control, it does not endanger health and property of citizens and organizations, or the environment (organizational structure of UJD). This Annual Report also wants to contribute to a better and more objective information to the public.