In order to support effective regulation, the IAEA has established Safety Standards in the thematic area of legal and governmental infrastructure for nuclear, radiation, radioactive waste and transport safety. It is these Safety Standards that form the core component of the IRRS review. The IAEA Safety Standards Series publication “Governmental, Legal and Regulatory Framework for Safety” (GSR Part 1) provides requirements for legal and governmental infrastructures which are necessary to fulfill the State’s regulatory functions. Other requirements and guidance documents such as The Management System for Facilities and Activities (GS-R-3), International Basic safety standards, the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and the Safety Standards regarding establishing a national system for radioactive waste management may be used in conjunction with GSR Part 1 in order to conduct a thorough review of a national legal and governmental infrastructure against international requirements and guidance.
The IRRS regulatory review process compares the nuclear and radiation regulatory infrastructure in a State against international standards and guidance and where appropriate, good practice elsewhere. The regulatory review process also draws directly upon the wide-ranging international experience and expertise of the regulatory review team members.
The IRRS process recognizes that organizational structure and regulatory processes vary from country to country depending on national legal and administrative systems, the size and structure of the nuclear and radiation protection programme, financial resources available to the regulatory body, social customs and cultural traditions. The IRRS has been constructed to allow for all such variations within a single integrated review service.
The IRRS process includes performance and prescriptive approaches to varying degrees. It is performance-oriented in that it accepts different approaches to the organization and practices of a regulatory framework and regulatory body that contribute to a strong national nuclear and radiation safety regime. At the same time the review process is prescriptive in its objective comparison against international standards and guidance. These Integrated Regulatory Review Service Guidelines include guidance for the host country and reviewers to ensure the consistency and comprehensiveness of the regulatory review process.
During an IRRS mission, recommendations and suggestions may be offered to the host country. Recommendations are related to items of direct relevance to safety as referenced in IAEA Safety Requirements, while suggestions relate to items not essential to compliance with international standards, but which might enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear and radiation safety regime and/or improve the organization or performance of the regulatory body. Commendable good practices may be identified and documented for consideration by other States.