The international reference texts are the international conventions and treaties to which France is a contracting party and those reference texts and recommendations concerning nuclear safety and radiation protection that are not formally binding.
The IAEA safety standards constitute a set of documents that are not legally binding. Nevertheless, they constitute a recognised international reference in nuclear safety and radiation protection. They describe the principles and the best practices in these areas.
The set of standards is broken down into a three-level documentary pyramid :
- The top level contains the standard relative to the fundamental principles of nuclear safety.
- The intermediate level contains the safety requirements.
- The basic level contains the safety guides.
In 2013, 150 documents were published. They are revised regularly.
The development of safety standards is based on a rigorous and robust process. Since the beginning of 1996, this activity has been supervised by the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS), made up of representatives from the highest levels of the nuclear regulatory authorities of twenty Member States. France is represented on this commission by an ASN Deputy Directory-General. The CSS coordinates the work of four committees tasked with overseeing the production of documents in four domains:
- NUSSC (NUclear Safety Standards Committee) for the safety of nuclear facilities;
- RASSC (RAdiation Safety Standards Committee) for radiation protection;
- TRANSSC (TRANsport Safety Standards Committee) for the safety of transport of radioactive material;
- WASSC (WAste Safety Standards Committee) for the safety of management of radioactive waste.
Represented by ASN, France attends these committees and since 2011 chairs the NUSSC. It also participates in the technical groups that draw up these documents.