Improving nuclear safety and radiation protection

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Approving organisations and laboratories

Paragraph 2 of Article 4 of the TSN Act states that “ASN issues the required approvals to the bodies participating in the controls and in the watch over nuclear safety or radiation protection”. Depending on the health or safety stakes involved in a nuclear activity or facility category, ASN may rely on the results of checks carried out by independent organisations and laboratories it has approved and which it monitors via second level checks. ASN thus approves organisations for carrying out the technical inspections required by the regulations in the fields within its scope of competence. The organisations approved in this way carry out:

  • radiation protection checks
  • measurement of radon activity concentration in premises open to the public;
  • evaluations of nuclear pressure equipment conformity and inspection of operational equipment.

The checks carried out by these organisations contribute to ASN’s overview of all nuclear activities. In order to approve those organisations which apply, ASN ensures that they perform the inspections in accordance with their technical, organisational and ethical obligations and in compliance with the rules of professional good practice. Compliance with these provisions should enable the required level of quality to be obtained and maintained. ASN ensures that maximum benefit is gained from the approval issued, in particular through regular exchanges with the organisations it has approved and the mandatory transmission of an annual report, in order to:

  • exploit operating experience feedback;
  • improve the approval process;
  • improve intervention conditions.

ASN also approves laboratories to conduct analyses requiring a high level of measurement quality if the results are to be usable. It thus approves laboratories:

  • for monitoring of environmental radioactivity (see point 4);
  • for worker dosimetry (see chapter 1).

The list of approvals issued by ASN is kept up to date on its website (“bulletin officiel de l’ASN/agréments d’organismes” section, available in French only).

In 2009, ASN issued:

  • 30 new or renewed approvals for organisations responsible for radiation protection inspections;
  • 29 approvals for level 1 radon activity concentration measurements;
  • 7 approvals for worker dosimetry (4 for internal monitoring of workers and 3 for external monitoring of workers).
  • 398 approvals for measurement of environmental radioactivity.

ASN sends the General Directorate for Health an opinion on the approval of the laboratories analysing radioactivity in water intended for human consumption. It sends the ministers responsible for nuclear safety and/or transport an opinion on approval of the organisations responsible for:

  • training the drivers of vehicles transporting radioactive materials (class 7 dangerous goods);
  • organising safety adviser examinations for transport of dangerous goods by road, rail or navigable waterway;
  • certifying the conformity of packagings designed to contain 0.1 kg or more of uranium hexafluoride (initial and periodic checks);
  • issuing type approval for tank-containers and mobile tanker units intended for transport of class 7 dangerous goods by road;
  • initial and periodic checks on tankers intended for the transport of dangerous goods.