On 1-12 June, 2015 IRRS (Integrated Regulatory Review Services) Mission was conducted in Armenia. The purpose of the mission is to discuss the compliance of Armenia’s nuclear safety regulatory infrastructure with the IAEA safety standards.
The Integrated Regulatory Review Service team (IRRS) team found that Armenia’s nuclear safety regulation infrastructure complies with IAEA safety standards and that is reflected in developing and adopting legal acts in the nuclear area and in the aplication of IAEA safety standards.
The team also noted that the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA) faces many challenges in regulating nuclear safety, including the planned lifetime extension of Armenian NPP. Extending a reactor’s operating licence requires careful safety evaluation by the regulatory body and usually takes more than one year.
“IAEA mission found some good practices, such as ANRA’s regular meetings with the Nuclear Safety Council, a group of international professionals who advise the president. Other countries could benefit from such practice, too”, said IRRS team leader Hans Wanner, Director General of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate.
ANRA Chairman Ashot Martirosyan said: “IRRS Mission will assist to comply the nuclear and radiation safety regulatory infrastructure with IAEA safety standards”.
The 20-member review team included experts from 14 IAEA Member States - Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iran, Lithuania, Netherlands, the Russian Federation, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine and United States of America – and five IAEA staff members.
During the review, team members met with senior managers and staff from ANRA and other organizations, and conducted site visits to observe inspections. Team members also met with managers at the Armenia Nuclear Power Plant and the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Center. Prime Minister Abrahamyan hosted a meeting with the team leader.
At the mission’s closing meeting, Greg Rzentkowski, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Installation Safety said that Armenia hosted many missions of IAEA thus showing its commitment to safety.
The IRRS team identified a number of suggestions and recommendations, including:
• The government should establish and implement a policy for safety that demonstrates its long-term commitment to safety
• All companies carrying out activities in the atomic energy utilization field should implement adequate measurements for the effective response to nuclear and radiation accidents in compliance with IAEA safety standards
• ANRA should take steps to identify lessons from operating and regulatory experience in other countries, notably by finalizing work to identify and act on lessons from the 2011 nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima, Japan
• ANRA should review its regulations for medical exposure control, occupational radiation protection and transport of radioactive materials and adapt them in line with IAEA Safety Standards.
The final mission report will be provided to the Government of Armenia.