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The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) is a peer review service designed and managed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to strengthen and enhance the national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety and emergency preparedness and response. The IRRS considers technical and policy issues of regulatory nature against IAEA Safety Standards and, where appropriate, good practices by drawing upon the extensive international experience and expertise of the regulatory review team members.

Whilst each State has the ultimate responsibility for the safety of facilities and activities involving ionizing radiation as well as the protection and safety of all exposure situations in its territory, the IRRS provides cross-cutting insights to the governmental, legal and regulatory framework for safety allowing the identification of improvement opportunities and the promotion of knowledge and experience exchange among the international community.

Governments and regulatory bodies face significant challenges given the complex, demanding and changing environment in which they discharge their responsibilities. These challenges are related to the development and increasing use of nuclear and radiation technologies in non-traditional sectors (e.g. medical, industrial, etc.) as well as the emergence of new technologies (e.g. small or medium reactors; transportable reactors, etc.). In parallel, the regulatory bodies face regulatory challenges in relation to the long-term operation of reactors, the decommissioning of facilities, contamination from past activities’ sites, and the management of radioactive wastes. Other factors that contribute to a more demanding environment for the regulatory bodies are the highly competitive electricity market and the increased scrutiny by interested parties, including the public.

As each State is ultimately responsible for the safety and protection of all facilities, activities and exposure situations in its territory, there is a growing need to strengthen the national infrastructure for safety to improve the performance of organizations regulating safety and to consider the broader policy implications that these challenges and emerging issues present to regulatory bodies. In this regard, the IRRS was established to provide a cross-cutting review against the relevant IAEA Safety Standards and Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources on the governmental, legal and regulatory framework for safety and the regulatory oversight of all facilities, activities and exposure situations in Host Countries.

An IRRS mission can be conducted regardless of the nature and number of facilities, activities and exposure situations regulated in the Host Country. It provides an adequate indicator of the effectiveness and efficiency of the national regulatory oversight of nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety and emergency preparedness and response as well as the protection and safety in all exposure situations.

There are numerous benefits related to the implementation of IRRS missions, not only for the Host Country but also for the international community, including:

  • evaluation of national infrastructures for safety vis-à-vis IAEA Safety Standards and Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources;
  • recommendations and suggestions for improvement;
  • opportunity for continuous improvement of the national regulatory framework through an integrated process of self-assessment and review;
  • exchanges of experiences, lessons learned and good practices among experts in the field;
  • growing international expertise through the exposure of different approaches of regulatory oversight as part of a mutual learning process;
  • harmonization of regulatory approaches among Member States.

Further information on objectives and benefits can be found in Section 3 of the IRRS Guidelines.

Considering that the governmental, legal and regulatory framework for safety varies significantly from country to country, the IRRS has been designed in a modular form to adequately address both generic issues and country-specific needs.

• Technical issues

IRRS Modules 1 to 4 cover the various elements of the framework for safety that are needed at the country level regardless of the range and number of facilities and activities regulated. Modules 5 to 9 represent the five core regulatory processes (Authorization, Review & Assessment, Inspection, Enforcement, and Regulations & Guides) which are applied to all regulated facilities, activities and exposure situations. Module 10 deals with the regulatory aspects of the nuclear or radiological emergency preparedness and response of the Host Country. Module 11 discusses the interface with nuclear security and Module 12 is related to the establishment of the safety infrastructure in accordance with the IAEA Safety Standards for countries embarking on a nuclear power programme.

The figure below depicts the technical issues in the IRRS modular configuration and the interface of core regulatory processes with facilities, activities and exposure situations.

An IRRS full scope mission covers all the core modules (Module 1-10) and policy issues. Module 11-12 are optional and are added upon request. If a State requests to exclude specific agencies, facilities, activities or exposure situations from the review, it should justify doing so. In such a case, a limited-scope IRRS is conducted.

Further information on the IRRS structure can be found in Section 4 and Appendix I of the IRRS Guidelines.

• Policy issues

The IRRS policy discussions are intended to promote a constructive sharing of knowledge, experiences and lessons learned between the Host Country and the IRRS Team on policy matters. Additionally, policy discussions support the identification of potential strategies to solve regulatory challenges or the development of criteria to assess the performance of regulatory systems.

Even though, the Host Country is responsible for identifying policy issues that are considered relevant to its circumstances, the IAEA may also propose policy issues. The topics proposed for discussion may range across legal, technical and organisational areas relevant to the regulation of nuclear and radiation safety in the Host Country.

Wherever possible, policy discussions should be linked to IAEA Safety Standards and should have potential global interest or impact. The policy issues agreed between the IRRS Team Leader and the IAEA Coordinator consider the scope of the IRRS mission and the availability of relevant expertise within the IRRS Team.

Further information on policy issues can be found in Section 5.7, Section 6.8 and Appendix II of the IRRS Guidelines.

• Basis for technical issues

The IAEA has established Safety Standards nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety and emergency preparedness and response, reflecting the international consensus on what constitutes a high level of safety for protecting people and the environment from harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

These IAEA Safety Standards, which constitute the basis for the review of technical issues, have three categories:

  • Safety Fundamentals which establish the fundamental safety objective and principles of protection and safety;
  • Safety Requirements which establish conditions to be met to protect people and the environment, both now and in the future.
  • Safety Guides which provide recommendations and guidance on how to comply with the Safety Requirements by presenting international best and good practices to achieve high levels of safety.

Even if GSR Part 1 (Rev. 1) constitutes the backbone of IRRS, all other IAEA Safety Requirements are used as appropriate to cover the detailed scope of regulatory oversight for nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety and emergency preparedness and response.

In addition to the Safety Standards, reference can also be made to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive where this have been agreed as part of the basis for the IRRS review.

• Basis for policy issues

To facilitate the discussion of policy issues, reviewers examine documents and commitments made by the Host Country including the country’s Advance Reference Material (ARM) and relevant technical issues arising during IRRS.

Other material that may generate policy issues and facilitate discussion of their potential impact on regulatory responsibilities, functions and activities includes: IAEA publications on regulatory and safety conferences and other relevant international meetings and forums; reports on safety issues and trends; results from other IAEA review missions; INSAG Reports; insights from the analysis of operational experience feedback from the IAEA’s Incident Reporting System and others.

Further information on policy issues can be found in Section 5.7, Section 6.8 and Appendix II of the IRRS Guidelines.

The conclusions of an IRRS mission are formulated as Recommendations, Suggestions and Good Practices:

  • Recommendations are related to items of direct relevance to safety as referenced in IAEA Safety Requirements;
  • Suggestions relate to items that, while not essential to ensure compatibility with IAEA Safety Requirements, may enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear and radiation safety regime against the guidance presented in IAEA Safety Guides.
  • Good practices are identified in recognition of an outstanding organization, arrangement, programme or performance superior to those generally observed elsewhere. They are documented for consideration by other States. The identification of Good Practices is subject to the Policy to clarify the use of Good Practices during an IRRS mission. Notable aspects of organization, arrangement, programme or performance that does not fully meet the Good Practice criteria are highlighted as good performance.

Further information on IRRS Observations can be found in Section 6.6.1. of the IRRS Guidelines.

In the past, the IAEA offered distinct peer review and appraisal services applicable to the governmental, legal and regulatory framework for safety; however, these services overlapped in some areas. Consequently in 2006, the IAEA developed the IRRS as an integrated approach to conduct missions on the governmental, legal and regulatory framework for safety.

The integrated approach of the IRRS not only improves the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency but also provides greater flexibility in defining the scope of the review through the consideration of regulatory technical and policy issues. The IRRS was thoroughly discussed by Member States in multiple international fora.

Currently, the IRRS is broadly recognized as a valuable mechanism to exchange professional experience and to share lessons learned and good practices. Moreover, the self-assessment performed prior to IRRS missions is regarded by Member States as a timely opportunity to assess their regulatory practices and performance against the IAEA Safety Standards.

From 2006 to 2020, 116 missions have been successfully conducted as shown in the table below. Publicly available reports can be consulted here.

IRRS Mission | 2006-2020

2006 France Romania UK R
2007 Australia Cameroon Gabon Japan R Kenya Mauritius Maxico Niger Uganda
2008 Botswana Cote d'Ivoire Germany R Madagascar Namibia Sierra Leone Spain Ukraine
2009 Canada France Ext Lebanon Peru Russia UK Ext Vietnam
2010 China Iran R Ukraine USA R
2011 Australia Ext Canada Germany Korea R Romania Slovenia Spain Switzerland R UAE
2012 Finland Greece Slovakia R Sweden
2013 Belgium Bulgaria Czech Rep. Poland Russia Ext UK Ext
2014 Cameroon France Jordan Korea Ext Netherlands Pakistan Slovania USA Vietnam Ext Zimbabwe
2015 Armenia Croatia Finland Hungary India R Indonesia Ireland Malta Slovakia Switzerland Tanzania UAE
2016 Belarus Bulgaria China Ext Estonia Italy Japan Kenya Lithuania South Africa Sweden
2017 Belgium Botswana Cyprus Czech Rep. Ethiopia France Greece Guatemala Jordan Macedonia Nigeria Poland Romania
2018 Australia Austria Chile> Georgia Hungary Luxembourg Moldova Netherlands Ext Spain ART
2019 Armenia Canada Croatia Estonia Germany Indonesia Latvia Norway UK
2020 Japan Ext Lithuania Vir Malta
LEGEND
Intial mission (1st cycle)
Follow-up mission (1st cycle)
Intial mission (2nd cycle)
Follow-up mission (2nd cycle)
ACRONYMS
ART IRRS - ARTEMIS combined mission
R Reduced scope mission
Ext Extended follow up mission
Vir Virtual

To improve the regulatory practices and policies as well as to further develop and harmonize the relevant IAEA Safety Standards, the IAEA continuously collects and analyses findings and feedback from IRRS missions. Moreover, it conducts periodic workshops on lessons learned from previous IRRS missions to identify further improvements ensuring that the IRRS programme continues to make a significant contribution to the enhancement of nuclear and radiation safety worldwide. The last IRRS lessons learned workshop was organized in November 2018.

As shown in the figure below, the IRRS process consists of the following phases: Request of IRRS Mission; Preparatory Phase, including Self-Assessment; IRRS Mission; Post Mission Activities; and Follow-up Mission.


An IRRS is initiated through a formal governmental request to the IAEA which is usually made 2-3 years in advance of the proposed date of the mission. This timeframe allows sufficient time to conduct the self-assessment and prepare for the IRRS mission. States are encouraged to request an IRRS mission with a follow-up mission simultaneously in a period of 2 to 4 years. Alternatively, for some Member States where the IAEA believes an IRRS would be beneficial, a recommendation to consider requesting an IRRS mission - together with a draft proposal - may be forwarded to the State.

The formal request for an IRRS mission is submitted to the IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and a formal acceptance of the request by the IAEA is sent to the requesting country. It must be noted that all IRRS missions are conducted in English.

• Initial Contact with the Recipient Country

Once the request is formally accepted, the IAEA begins an open dialogue with the Member State by designating an IAEA staff member as ‘IAEA Coordinator’ who will be the main contact person throughout the entire IRRS process. The IAEA Coordinator contacts the main host organization, usually the regulatory body, to:

  • identify the Host Country Liaison Officer who will be the focal point of the Member State;
  • discuss the scope and expectations for a regulatory self-assessment;
  • arrange a date for the information meeting (if requested) and the preparatory meeting.

The information meeting is organized upon request for the Host Country to get a clear understanding of the IRRS process. In addition to the information meeting, a self-assessment workshop based on SARIS can be organized, upon request of the Host Country.

Further information on IRRS Preparation can be found in Section 5.1.-5.3. and Appendix IV.4. and IV.9. of the IRRS Guidelines.

• SARIS

In preparation for the IRRS mission, the Host Country is requested to conduct a self-assessment on the regulatory infrastructure for safety. A self-assessment takes several months, usually more than nine, depending on the scope of the mission and availability of information and resources which can be allocated to it by the Host Country. The self-assessment is to be conducted as comprehensively as possible since it provides essential information to the IRRS Team about the Host Country’s legal, governmental and regulatory infrastructure for nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety and emergency preparedness and response.

To provide a consistent basis for the review, the IAEA developed SARIS (Self-Assessment of Regulatory Infrastructure for Safety), a methodology and associated software that helps Member States review their national governmental, legal and regulatory framework for safety against the IAEA Safety Standards. Further information on SARIS can be consulted on the SARIS Guidelines and the eSARIS software is available here.

The SARIS methodology comprises five phases:

Preparation Phase aims at organizing the self-assessment and thoroughly preparing the following phases. This initial step is vital because conducting a self-assessment can be demanding in terms of time, resources and coordination as it possibly involves several national organizations concerned in the safety of facilities and activities. At this stage, the Host Country can request the IAEA to organize a national workshop on self-assessment, which includes the SARIS methodology and software.

Answering Phase, aims at collecting all relevant information in a consistent manner according to the scope of the mission, by responding a set of questionnaires and attaching relevant documentary evidence for each IRRS module (except module 12) , and additional modules for each facility, activity and exposure situation based on the IAEA safety requirements.

For module 12 which is specific to countries embarking on a nuclear power programme, the self-assessment is conducted according to the Integrated Review of Infrastructure for Safety (IRIS) methodology which evaluate whether embarking countries are performing in line with the IAEA Specific Safety Guide on Establishing the Safety Infrastructure for a Nuclear Power Programme SSG-16 (Rev.1). IRIS methodology is similar to the SARIS one and it is embedded in the same software. The IRIS Guidelines can be consulted here.

Once the question-sets have been thoroughly answered, the Analysis Phase can be conducted. The answers are analysed against the IAEA safety requirements to draw conclusions and recommendations addressing identified areas for improvement. For an effective review, Host Countries are encouraged to conduct a SWOT analysis which involves the identification of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Conclusions and recommendations made during the Analysis Phase are converted into actions in the Initial Action Plan.

Finally, the Implementation of the Action Plan and Follow-Up Phase includes a detailed and transparent communication of the results and proposed action plan to the concerned organizations’ staff. Moreover, it reviews the implementation progress of the action plan according to established indicators and its overall impact on the regulatory performance.

The first four self-assessment phases should be completed well in advance of the IRRS mission as the Self-Assessment Report, including the initial action plan, is one of the key items of the Advance Reference Material (ARM).

• Preparatory Meeting

Six to nine months prior to the mission, a preparatory meeting is conducted between the IRRS Team Leader(s), the IAEA Coordinator(s) and Host Country representatives including regulatory body’s senior management and other stakeholder organizations. During the meeting, the scope of the review, the status of the self-assessment, potential policy issues and other necessary arrangements are discussed and agreed to establish the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the IRRS mission. The ToR summarize the relevant milestones for the preparation process and provide clarity on the commitments of the Host Country and the IAEA facilitating long-term planning.

Further information on the preparatory meeting can be found in Section 5.5.and Appendix V of the IRRS Guidelines.

• Advance Reference Material (ARM)

The Advance Reference Material (ARM) must be provided to the IAEA two months before the mission giving enough time for the IRRS Team to review them prior to the mission. The ARM includes:

  • Self-Assessment report (SARIS question-sets with responses, conclusions and recommendations, and initial action plan);
  • ARM summary report (comprehensive document that includes a summary for each module of self-assessment following the ARM summary report template);
  • Other relevant documents.

The ARM is developed in English and is distributed electronically to all IRRS Reviewers by the IAEA Coordinator. The purpose is to get them well acquainted with the national governmental, legal and regulatory framework enabling the comprehensive review on the IRRS section they are responsible for prior to the mission.

Further information on ARM can be found in Section 5.6. and Appendix IX of the IRRS Guidelines.

It must be highlighted that all IRRS missions are conducted in English; therefore, translation and interpretation services are required where appropriate.

Usually, an IRRS mission lasts between 9 to 15 days depending on the scope of the mission. The day before the entrance meeting, the IRRS Team meets to discuss the conclusions of their initial review of the ARM.

On the first day of the mission, an entrance meeting is conducted with senior management of the national regulatory body and relevant government officials to present the plan, approach and expectations of the mission.

During the mission, the IRRS Team extensively collects key material on the national regulatory responsibilities, functions and activities through (1) the review of written material, (2) interviews with personnel and other officials and (3) direct observation of activities at the regulatory body office and during site visits to regulated facilities. The collected material enables an objective review of the regulatory effectiveness, the identification of observations on regulatory and technical issues, and the verification of the data provided in the ARM.

The main insights and observations on technical and policy issues are included in the Preliminary IRRS Report, which is reviewed by the Host Country for comments and factual correctness. During the exit meeting of the mission, the IRRS Team presents to representatives of the Host Country the areas reviewed, activities conducted, strengths and areas for improvement identified as well as good practices, where pertinent. In addition, the final draft of the Preliminary IRRS Report is given to the Host Country.

Templates for standard IRRS initial mission programme and schedule are available in Appendix VIII of the IRRS Guidelines.

To finalize the IRRS Report, all involved national parties finally evaluate the factual correctness of the information and submit it to the IAEA Coordinator and the IRRS Team Leader for their final review a few weeks after the mission takes place. It is expected that the final IRRS Report is completed within two months after receiving the country comments and submitted through official channels to the Member State concerned. Usually findings are not changed at this stage. The Host Country can then update its initial action plan (derived from the self-assessment) to implement the Recommendations and Suggestions included in the IRRS Report.

In the interest of openness, countries are encouraged to make their IRRS mission report public. Publicly available reports can be consulted here.

IRRS follow-up missions are an important step of the IRRS process. An IRRS mission aims to review the national progress achieved through the implementation of the Recommendations and Suggestions included in the IRRS Report. If requested by Member States, extended follow-up missions can also be conducted including specific topical areas that were not covered by the previous mission.

The request for a follow-up mission should be made nine months in advance of the proposed date of the mission and it is suggested to host it, two to four years after the initial IRRS mission.

Further information on Follow-up missions can be found in Section 8 of the IRRS Guidelines.

The size of the IRRS Team and the duration of the mission are primarily determined by and graded according to the legal, administrative and technical complexity of the Host Country’s infrastructure for nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety and emergency preparedness and response, as well as by the range of facilities, activities and exposure situations included in the mission’s scope.

The composition of a competent IRRS Team is one of the key factors for a successful mission and it poses a continuous challenge given the number of leaders and experts that must be recruited every year. The IRRS missions typically comprise 12 to 21 international experts.

The IRRS Team is integrated by designated IAEA staff and experienced regulators from Member States selected and recruited by the IAEA Coordinator(s) in consultation with the Host Country to avoid any conflict of interests. The IRRS Team is led by the Team Leader who is a senior regulator with known leadership qualities and extensive experience as an IRRS reviewer. As for the rest of the team, at least half of the IRRS Reviewers should have previous IRRS experience as reviewers or as hosting counterparts while the other half should be completed by newcomer experts, ideally trained by the IAEA.

Further information on the team composition can be found in Section 5.8. and Appendix X of the IRRS Guidelines.

• Initial IRRS Reviewer Training

It is recommended that potential reviewers working for regulatory bodies around the world take part in the IRRS trainings organized by the IAEA. The initial training for IRRS Reviewers provides comprehensive information and guidance on the IRRS process and conduct of missions. It covers the nuclear and radiation safety aspects of an IRRS mission while providing a good understanding on review methodology; mission report writing, and policy issue discussions. It also includes expectations regarding behaviour, teamwork, communication, and timekeeping, among others. If an expert successfully completes the training, then he/she is included in the Expert Pool Database and eligible for future IRRS missions.

So far, three IRRS Reviewers’ trainings have been conducted and 120 experts have been successfully trained becoming part of the Expert Pool Database.

• eLearning for Reviewers in IRRS

The refresher eLearning course has been designed for experts who have been invited as reviewers to an IRRS mission. Its purpose is to refresh the reviewers’ knowledge on their role and responsibilities through all phases of the IRRS process. The eLearning course is divided in 9 Modules covering all IRRS mission related information and required activities for preparing a mission. At the end of each Module, experts have to complete an assessment to ensure their sufficient understanding and knowledge on the issues covered.

IRRS Reviewers are encouraged to complete this eLearning course in preparation for an IRRS mission.

• Refresher Training

A ‘refresher training’ is held during the initial team meeting prior to the start of IRRS mission. This training ensures that all IRRS Team members have a common understanding of the background; context and objectives of the IRRS, the basis for the review; the type of information needed; policy issue discussions; the evaluation procedure and the drafting of the mission report. The actual extent of the refresher training will vary depending on the Team’s previous experience.

Moreover, the IAEA Coordinator will brief the IRRS Team on national issues, sensitive areas, priorities, schedule, approaches and expectations regarding the format and content of the deliverables by the IRRS Team members.

The IAEA periodically analyses the observations (recommendations, suggestions and good practices) collected from IRRS Missions (initial and follow-up) to draw meaningful trends and conclusions. The analysis highlights the most recurring observations and identifies the most challenging areas shared by Member States for further improvement.

The latest analysis conducted from 2015 to 2019 covered 53 missions in 48 countries from which 33 were initial, 19 were follow-up and 1 was an extended follow-up. All missions, except for 2, were full-scope missions.

Since 2015, the highest number of observations for Recommendations and Suggestions have been made on the following areas:

  • Implementation of International Basic Safety Standards;
  • Framework for safety;
  • Establishment of the regulatory body management system;
  • Emergency planning;
  • Procedures and guidance (emergency preparedness and response);
  • Regulatory body staffing and competence;
  • Development of inspection programme;
  • Coordination and cooperation among authorities;
  • Development of authorization process;
  • Regulatory body independence.

Overall, there are eight main issues that dominate IRRS mission findings:

  • Updating national regulations for radiation safety to reflect the requirements in GSR Part 3 (Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards);
  • Developing and maintaining up-to-date procedures and guidance for regulatory body staff;
  • Updating national regulations and guidance for the safety of radioactive waste and spent fuel storage and disposal;
  • Developing and issuing a national policy and strategy for safety;
  • Independence of the regulatory body;
  • Application of the graded approach to nuclear and radiation safety activities;
  • Competence in nuclear and radiation safety;
  • Implementation of a regulatory body management system that conforms to the requirements of GSR Part 2 (Leadership and Management for Safety).

As for follow-up missions from 2015 to 2019, 715 Recommendations and Suggestions were made with an overall closure rate of just over 90%. It must be noted that the closure rate for individual Member States varied from 71% to 100%.

The findings that remained open after the follow-up missions mostly fall in the following topics:

  • Developing the national policy and strategy for safety, particularly with respect to management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel;
  • Promulgation of national nuclear laws and regulations and their alignment with the IAEA Safety Standards;
  • Coordination amongst organizations with responsibilities for nuclear and radiological safety, particularly where various levels of government are involved, to ensure there are no gaps or conflicting requirements;
  • Providing regulatory bodies with sufficient financial and human resources;
  • Implementation of an integrated management system by the regulatory body;
  • Building and maintaining competence for nuclear and radiation safety;
  • Establishment of an enforcement policy.

An IRRS Good Practice is identified in recognition to an outstanding organization, arrangement, programme or performance superior to those generally observed elsewhere. Further information on the identification of Good Practices can be found in the Policy to clarify the use of Good Practices during an IRRS mission.

One of the main objectives of the IRRS Programme is to share Good Practices among regulatory bodies as they can be considered models in the general drive for excellence. The Good Practices Database is available here.

The European Commission (EC) and the IAEA concluded an agreement titled "EC-IAEA Contribution Agreement in Nuclear Safety – Supporting Integrated Regulatory Review Services (IRRS) and Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (ARTEMIS) in the EU" with the overall objective of fostering an effective national framework for nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, transport safety and emergency preparedness and response in European Union Member States, with or without nuclear power programmes. The Agreement is in line with the Council Directive 2014/87/Euratom (2014), specifically the obligations under its Article 8e of the “amended Nuclear Safety Directive” as well as with the Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom, specifically its Article 14.3 of the “Waste Directive.” The Agreement pursues 3 main outcomes:

  1. Enhanced governmental, legal and regulatory framework for nuclear safety against the IAEA Safety Standards in Member States hosting IRRS missions.
  2. Enhanced management of radioactive waste, decommissioning and remediation (RWMDR) against the Safety Standards in Member States hosting ARTEMIS missions.
  3. To improve support to EU Member States in the context of the “amended Nuclear Safety Directive” and the “Waste Directive” while exploring and benefiting from the synergies between IRRS and ARTEMIS.

The activities under the Contribution Agreement will be carried out from 2021 to 2023 by the IAEA, as the implementation body, in collaboration with ENSREG and the EU Member States’ nuclear regulatory authorities.

The European Commission (EC) and the IAEA concluded a European Atomic Energy Community Contribution Agreement titled "EC-IAEA Cooperation in the Field of Nuclear Safety - Integrated Regulatory Review Services in the EU" with the overall objective of supporting EU Member States -with or without nuclear power programmes- to strengthen their nuclear regulatory capabilities for long-term safety in line with the Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom (2009), specifically the obligations under its Article 9.3 of the Nuclear Safety Directive. The first phase of the Contribution Agreement was implemented from 2011 to 2015 and the second phase from 2016 to 2020.

The Contribution Agreement supported greater openness and transparency of the regulatory regimes in the EU Member States; enhanced regulatory competence and compliance with Safety Standards by the regulatory body; and promoted knowledge management networks for the effective use of relevant information.

More specifically, the Delegation Agreement Phase 2 allowed for:

  • the first revision of the IRRS Guidelines;
  • the development of analysis reports of IRRS missions;
  • the significant improvement of standardized tools for IRRS missions;
  • the enhancement of self-assessment of regulatory infrastructure for safety including the revision of the questionnaires which reduced the number of questions and restructured them according to the IRRS Modules;
  • the organization of comprehensive training courses for IRRS reviewers, some of which were catered for EU MSs.

Even though the direct beneficiaries are the EU Member States, the Contribution Agreement indirectly benefited the international nuclear community at large by actively promoting the Global Nuclear Safety Regime.

Date and location Title Description
TBD,2021 Canada International Meeting for IRRS Team Leaders The purpose of the technical meeting is to identify areas for improvement for implementing IRRS missions through experience and knowledge sharing.
TBD,2022 Vienna, Austria Training Course for Reviewers in Integrated Regulatory Review Service Missions The purpose of the training course is to provide information and guidance to staff from regulatory bodies who are likely to participate as reviewers in future IRRS missions.
TBD,2022 International Workshop for IRRS
Date and location Title Description
23 -26 November 2020 Virtual Technical Meeting on the Implementation of the IAEA's Self-Assessment Methodology and Tools The purpose of the technical meeting was to obtain feedback on the latest developments in the IAEA’s tools for the self-assessment of the legal, governmental and regulatory infrastructure for safety for their continuous improvement.
27–28 November 2018 Luxembourg International Workshop on Lessons Learned from Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) Missions The purpose of the workshop was to exchange information, experiences and lessons learned from the IRRS missions conducted from 2014 to 2018. Also, it explored recent developments and expectations for the IRRS programme and further improvements in the planning and implementation of IRRS missions in the longer term. Finally, the workshop provided an opportunity to share experiences and discuss the challenges related to the implementation of initial IRRS mission Recommendations or Suggestions.
29 November 2018 Luxembourg Regional Workshop on Lessons Learned from Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) Missions conducted in Europe The purpose of the workshop was to exchange information, experiences and lessons learned related to the IRRS missions conducted in the EU Member States which supports them to fulfil their obligations under the amended Nuclear Safety Directive and the Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management Directive. Also, the workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the use of a combined approach for conducting IRRS and ARTEMIS missions reviewing the advantages and challenges vis-à-vis conducting the missions separately.









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