ASN and the ministries responsible for nuclear safety supplement the general technical regulations applicable to nuclear facilities
Further to the publication of Act No. 2006-686 of 13 June 2006 relative to transparency and security in the nuclear field (the "TSN Act"), now integrated in the Environmental Code, and Decree No. 2007-1557 of 2 November 2007 relative to basic nuclear installations (BNI), ASN - in association with the ministries responsible for nuclear safety - has begun revising the general technical regulations applicable to basic nuclear installations.
The order "setting the general rules relative to basic nuclear installations", called the "BNI Order", was published in the Official Journal on 8 February 2012. It constitutes one of the major elements of this initiative. It incorporates into French law rules corresponding to the best international practices.
The provisions of the BNI Order primarily address the organisation and responsibilities of the BNI licensees, the demonstration of nuclear safety, the control of nuisance factors and their impact on health and the environment, waste management and emergency situation preparedness and management.
This order introduces into French law a number of "reference levels" established by the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA). These "reference levels" take into consideration the most recent IAEA standards and the most stringent approaches applied in the countries concerned. They represent a common foundation for the harmonisation of international practices.
The "BNI" order also provides some responses to issues raised by the Fukushima accident. Requirements in terms of emergency preparedness and management are introduced into the regulations, and the monitoring of outside contractors is tightened: the order requires the licensee to directly monitor interventions that are important for safety. The order also underlines the requirements relative to the handling of deviations, particularly with regard to the cumulative impact of different deviations and the analysis of their recurrence.
The "BNI" order extends the scope of the previously applicable regulatory provisions to the protection of the environment and the nuisance factors mitigation. It adapts them to the recent developments, taking into account ASN experience in the regulation of basic nuclear installations. Three older orders1 are thus abrogated.
Drafting of the BNI order formed the subject of wide consultation. Two public consultations were organised for this purpose in the first half of 2010 and at the end of 2011.
The BNI order will come into force as of 1stJuly 2013. Certain provisions will however come into effect either earlier or later than this date, depending on the scale of measures required for their implementation.
The BNI order, signed by the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, and the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry, was published in the French Official Journal today. It will be supplemented by some fifteen regulatory decisions to be taken by ASN in the coming months.
For further details:
1. Order of 10 August 1984 relative to the quality of the design, construction and operation of basic nuclear installations; Order of 26 November 1999 setting the general technical requirements relative to the limits and conditions of basic nuclear installation intakes and discharges that are subject to authorisation; Order of 31 December 1999 setting the general technical regulations for preventing and limiting pollution and the off-site risks resulting from the operation of basic nuclear installations.