Nuclear safety and radiation protection: ASN installs its administrative enforcement committee

Published on 12/11/2021 at 14:50

Information notice

In accordance with the provisions of the Environment Code, ASN installed its administrative enforcement committee on Tuesday 19 October 2021. The creation of this committee supplements the arsenal of enforcement measures available to ASN. When referred to by the ASN Commission, it will have the power to issue administrative fines on the licensees of basic nuclear installations (BNI), those responsible for the transport of radioactive substances, the operators of nuclear pressure equipment (NPE), or indeed those responsible for nuclear activities regulated by the Public Health Code. Its independence is guaranteed by law.

Composition and working of the ASN administrative enforcement committee

Composition

The Committee comprises four regular members, two State councillors appointed by the Vice-President of the Council of State and two councillors from the Cour de cassation (Court of appeal) appointed by the first President of the Cour de cassation. It also comprises four alternate members. The duration of the members' mandate is six years.

During their first meeting, on Tuesday 19 October 2021, the regular members elected M. Maurice MEDA as Chair of the committee for the next three years. They also adopted the internal rules of procedure which will be published in the Official Journal.

Working

As set out by law, the committee will meet exclusively when referred to by the ASN Commission. This latter may decide to open a procedure leading to issue of a fine after clearly determining that the person responsible for nuclear activities has not complied with a formal notice, in other words has not taken the measures required by this formal notice.

The fines will be proportional to the seriousness of the observed violations and in particular take into account the extent of the impact on the environment. The maximum amount of the fines is set by law at 10 million euros, in the event of a breach of the provisions applicable to basic nuclear installations, one million euros for a breach of the provisions applicable to nuclear pressure equipment, 30,000 euros in the field of transport of radioactive substances, and 15,000 euros for small-scale nuclear activities.

ASN’s enforcement and sanctions policy

The primary objective of the oversight conducted by ASN is to ensure that those responsible for nuclear activities assume their responsibility to protect people and the environment. In the light of this objective, the oversight resources shall allow a certain reactivity. The regulations relating to nuclear safety and radiation protection tend more to cover the achievement of results rather than deployment of resources. However the basic nuclear installations (BNI) sector should be differentiated from the “small-scale nuclear activities” sector (medical, industrial and veterinary sectors).

ASN administrative enforcement committee. From left to right: Bernard Bureau, Françoise Farrenq-Nesi, Jacqueline Riffault, Maurice Méda, Denis Jardel, Olivier Yeznikian (absent : Yves Gounin)

ASN therefore reserves the use of enforcement means for situations in which, given the significant safety and radiation protection implications, the behaviour of those responsible for the activity is reprehensible or results in undue delay. When rapid reaction is required, ASN uses the interim measures at its disposal, such as suspension of the operation of a facility.

With regard to measures used to trigger criminal sanctions, ASN has regularly used tools such as the violation report or notification under Article 40 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

On the basis of the oversight methods and the results of its past actions in this regard, ASN envisages referring to the administrative enforcement committee those cases which combine significant safety, or environmental or population protection implications, and behaviour by a person responsible for an activity that leads to undue delay or is inconsistent.

Legal references

To find out more:

ASN Resolution (only in French) of 19 october 2021


 

Date of last update : 15/11/2021