ASN independence: enhanced regulation and transparency
To usher in the new year, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), in the person of Mr André-Claude Lacoste, Chairman, Mr Marc Sanson, commissioner, and Mr Jean Christophe Niel, Director General, presented its best wishes to the press on 20 January.
In the presence of about twenty journalists from the national and international press, the board and the Director General of ASN reviewed the changes to ASN two years after its status was changed to that of an Independent Administrative Authority and after implementation of the TSN Act on Nuclear Transparency and Safety, along with the strategic priorities for 2009. The following points in particular were stressed:
- For the past 2 years, its new status has enabled ASN to enhance its regulatory powers and transparency.
- ASN constantly tightens safety requirements. As part of this effort, it is developing an integrated view of nuclear regulation, taking into consideration both the technical aspects and organisational and human factors.
- ASN now has an appropriate punitive arsenal at its disposal in the field of nuclear regulation (decisions applicable to the licensees, formal notifications, official reports, licence suspensions). In the medical field, ASN considers that it needs to ensure further progress in the radiation protection culture and in the notification of incidents.
- ASN is committed to independence, one of its four core values, along with rigour, competence and transparency. The decision-making process, which includes the notion of group decisions, the ability to say no and the possibility of giving just as much importance to long-term strategic reflection as to short-term emergency action, means that it is impartial but with an absolute duty of accountability, by reporting in particular to Parliament and to the public.
- ASN promotes access to information and compliance with the principles of transparency enshrined in the TSN Act. Through its work, ASN reinforces public information and public debate (publication of newsletters, letters describing the results of the inspection of "large" nuclear and radiotherapy installations, consultation of the public with regard to the decommissioning of nuclear installations). To help develop transparency in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection, it intends to expand its regulation of nuclear licensees to include compliance with the transparency obligations stipulated in the TSN Act.
ASN will present its report entitled "The state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2008" at a presentation open to the public and the press, organised on 7 April 2009 by the Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST).