Through its inspectors the NRA SR carries out control and inspection activity at the license holders pursuant to the Atomic Act in a form of inspections.
Inspection activity means a process that checks compliance with the requirements laid down in the Atomic Act, in the Decrees issued by the NRA SR, as well as implementation of the NRA SR decisions. In practice the inspection shall verify, in particular whether the nuclear installation was built, and is operated, modified or decommissioned in accordance with the approved documentation and license conditions. During operation it also oversees compliance with the regulations and approved procedures for equipment maintenance. Finally, it also checks whether the necessary actions are carried out by sufficient number of adequately qualified and competent staff.
Forms of inspections
Inspections have different forms, but in particular they are divided to scheduled and unscheduled. Scheduled inspections are stated in the yearly inspection plan of the NRA SR and they are designed in a way to equally cover all relevant areas of regulation over nuclear safety. Unscheduled inspections are triggered by a status at a nuclear installation (such as, for example, stages of commissioning of a nuclear installation) or by operational events. The NRA SR responds to the situation, which was unexpected, or its date could not be determined in advance.
Inspections are in principle announced in advance to the entity under control. However, inspection can be unannounced, if required by their focus or nature.
Suspected unauthorized use of nuclear energy
Unscheduled inspections are conducted by nuclear safety inspectors, where there is a reasonable assumption that they use nuclear energy for other than peaceful purposes or that they are not authorized to use nuclear energy. Further in entities, where there is reasonable suspicion that they violate obligations arising from international treaties relating to peaceful use of nuclear energy, as well as where there is reasonable suspicion of carrying out activities of using nuclear energy under the Atomic Act without the authorization or approval.
There was no case of unauthorized use of nuclear energy or use for other than peaceful use in the Slovak Republic so far.
A special category of NRA SR inspectors are site inspectors, whose place of work is an assigned site with a specific nuclear installation. Currently there are three site inspectors (SI) working directly at the nuclear power plant Bohunice. Two SI at NPP Mochovce 1&2 and three SI at NPP Mochovce 3&4 (nuclear power plant under construction).
Importance of Site Inspectors
The principal value of having a SI is his daily presence at a particular nuclear installation. Thus, it is his continuous possibility to conduct walkdowns of the power plant, during which he checks the status of components, systems and equipment, monitors values of selected safety parameters of a nuclear installation and checks the staff’s attitude to safety-relevant activities.
Results of inspections
The course of each inspection, as well as the findings from the inspection, are documented in detail. Any deficiencies identified during an inspection are recorded in a Protocol, together with the requirements and deadlines for their removal. The license holder shall then notify the NRA SR about the method and the dates of eliminating the deficiency.
The Inspection Plan of the NRA SR covers a list of scheduled inspections of the NRA SR for a calendar year, and it is designed in a way to equally cover all relevant areas of supervision over nuclear safety. Inspection Plan is issued in a form of an Order by the Chairperson of the NRA SR. It contains the basic information about each scheduled inspection: the number of the inspection in the inspections plan, name of the license holder under the Atomic Act, name of the site of nuclear installation or the place of business of the license holder, title of the inspection, area covered by the inspection and the quarter of the relevant year, for which this inspection is scheduled.