International conventions

In the wake of the Chernobyl accident (April 26, 1986), the international community negotiated several conventions aiming at preventing accidents associated with the use of nuclear energy and mitigating their consequences. IAEA is the depository of these conventions and provides the relevant secretarial services.

The conventions are based on the principle of voluntary commitment of the Countries, which remain solely responsible for the facilities under their own jurisdiction.

Two conventions relate to the prevention of nuclear accidents (Convention on Nuclear Safety and Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management), while two others relate to the management of their consequences (Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency). France is a contracting party to these four conventions. IAEA is the depository of these conventions and provides the relevant secretariat services.

Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management

 The Joint Convention on the safety of spent fuel management and on the safety of radioactive waste management is supplementing the Convention on Nuclear Safety. It was approved by France on February 22, 2000 and it entered into force on June 18, 2001. This Convention obliges each Contracting Party to present at the review meetings (every three years) a report on the way in which it implements the obligations of the Convention. The French Nuclear Safety Authority ensured the co-ordination of this report, with contributions from other regulators and nuclear operators. It has been submitted to questions and presented to the peers in Vienna.

The Convention and other complementary information in English on the IAEA website.

The fifth three-yearly review meeting of the Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste management (called the "Joint Convention") will be held from 15 to 22 May, 2015 in Vienna.

The fourth three-yearly review meeting of the Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste management (called the "Joint Convention") was held from 14 to 23 May, 2012 in Vienna. The next meeting will be held in 2015. On 9 October 2013, 69 Contracting Parties had ratified the Convention.

The third meeting of the contracting parties was held at the IAEA head office in Vienne, Austria, from 11 to 20 May, 2009. 45 contracting parties attended this meeting, including five new countries: China, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Senegal and South Africa.The French report was distributed to all the contracting parties in October 2008.

Les parties contractantes ont posé 213 questions sur le rapport français.

The French report was presented on May 13, 2009 at the IAEA head office in Vienna by the ASN Director-General, Mr Jean-Christophe Niel, with the participation of Ms Marie-Claude Dupuis, ANDRA Director-General.

The second French report was sent to the other contracting parties (41 countries at present) in October 2005.

This report raised 181 questions.

The first French report was sent to the other contracting parties in March 2003.

Convention on Assistance in the Event of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency

The IAEA Convention on Assistance in the Event of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency came into effect on February 26, 1987. The aim of this Convention is to facilitate cooperation between countries should one of them be affected by an emergency situation that has radiological consequences. It has been ratified by 111 Contracting Parties on December 31, 2013.

The Interministerial Directive of November 30, 2005 mandates ASN as the competent national authority and details the conditions of application of this Convention if France has to either request assistance or respond to a request for assistance in the event of a radiological emergency.

The terms of this directive oblige each French ministry to keep an up-to-date inventory of its intervention capabilities in terms of experts, equipment, materials and medical resources, and to communicate it to ASN.

As coordinator of France's national means of assistance, ASN participates in the IAEA's work devoted to the operational implementation of international assistance, and more particularly in the development of the RANET (Response Assistance NETwork) database for radiological emergencies.

France has been called upon on several occasions under this Convention to assist a foreign country in the context of a radiological emergency. To give an example, in 2011 and 2012 respectively, Bulgarian and Peruvian workers were treated at Percy Hospital in Clamart, France, following accidental exposure to radioactive sources contained in gamma radiography equipment. Under this Convention, France is also likely to be requested for research and / or recovery of radioactive sources or to treat overirradiated people during interventional radiology procedures..

The international assistance procedures are currently being revised in the light of experience feedback from the Fukushima accident.

Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident

Each contracting party to this Convention, which entered into force on 27th October 1986, undertakes to inform the international community as rapidly as possible of any event occurring on its territory that could lead or has led to uncontrolled dispersal into the environment of radioactive substances that could have cross-border consequences. It has been ratified by 117 Contracting Parties on December 31, 2013.

France also undertook to apply the Euratom decision of 14th December 1987 concerning the conditions for the early exchange of information between European Union member states in the event of a radiological emergency.

The conditions of application of this IAEA Convention and of the Euratom decision in France are detailed in the Interministerial Directive of 30 May 2005 which mandates ASN as the competent national authority.

ASN is thus responsible for notifying the international institutions (IAEA and the European Union) of any nuclear event and for circulating to the appropriate French ministries all the information concerning events occurring abroad. These information exchanges are designed to help mitigate the radiological consequences and to enable all the countries to take measures to protect their populations where necessary.

To fulfil this notification duty, ASN uses the tools provided by the IAEA (USIE - Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies) and by the European Commission (ECURIE - European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange system). ASN participated in the development of these tools and uses them in the national and international emergency response exercises that are organised regularly between the contracting parties.

In addition to these international agreements, ASN has established bilateral protocols with the neighbouring countries on the exchange of information in the event of radiological emergencies.

  

Convention on Nuclear Safety

The Convention on Nuclear Safety concerns civil nuclear power reactors. It sets a number of safety objectives and defines the measures intended to achieve them. The contracting countries commit in particular to:

  • establish a legislative, regulatory and administrative framework that meets the aims of the Convention and enables them to fulfil their obligations;
  • establish an independent regulation and oversight organisation that has sufficient authority, competence and human and financial resources.

France has decided of its own volition to also include in its national report the measures taken for all civil research reactors which are subject to the same general regulations as the civil nuclear power reactors with regard to safety and radiation protection.

The Convention provides for the organisation of triennial "review meetings" of the contracting parties, which are intended to develop cooperation and the sharing of experience. A review meeting is organised every three years. A few months prior to the “review meeting”, each contracting party submits a report presenting the measures taken to implement the obligations of the Convention. During the meeting, each report presented is discussed with the other contracting parties who can ask additional questions. A summary report drawn up by the meeting chairman and made public presents the progress achieved and any difficulties that subsist.

Adopted in 1994 by the IAEA member states, the Convention on Nuclear Safety was approved by France on 13th September 1995. It entered into effect on October 24, 1996. Since March 31, 2005 it has been ratified by all the countries operating nuclear power reactors. As of January 2016, it had been ratified by 78 contracting parties.

The 8th “review meeting” is scheduled from 23 March to 3 April 2020 in Vienna.

The French national reports can be consulted in their French and English versions.

The 8th report (2020)

The eighth French national report drawn up in preparation for the Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety held in 2020

The 7th report (2017)

The seventh French national report on the Convention on Nuclear Safety drawn up in preparation for the Review Meeting of 2017 was published in August 2016.

The 6th report (2014)

The sixth French national report on the Convention on Nuclear Safety drawn up in preparation for the Review Meeting of 2014 was published in July 2013.

The report of the 2nd extraordinary meeting (2012)

As decided during the 5threview meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety held in April 2011, an extraordinary meeting of the CSN will take place in Vienna in August 2012. One objective is to review and share the lessons learned and the steps taken by the CSN Contracting Parties in response to the events of the accident that struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP). As part of this extraordinary meeting, a national report was issued by each of the Contracting Parties, based on the 6 topics identified (external events, design studies, severe accident management (on site), national organization, off-site organization in emergency and post-accident situations, international cooperation). It presents and describes the measures taken or envisaged, along with the scheduled completion dates.

The 5th report (2011)

The fifth French national report raised 196 questions which were discussed in April 2011.

The 4th report (2008)

The fourth French national report raised 206 questions which were discussed on April 2008.

The 3rd report (2005)

The third French national report raised 208 questions from 26 countries, questions which were discussed on April 12, 2005.

The 2nd report (2002)

The second French national report published in October 2001 raised 115 questions which were discussed on April 16, 2002.

The 1st report (1999)

Others conventions

Other international conventions, whose scope does not fit to ASN competences, can have links with nuclear safety.

This is specifically the case with the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which aims at reinforcing protection against malicious acts and the misuse of nuclear material. This convention came into effect in February 1987.

It was modified on July 8, 2005. The new text widens the scope of the measures to the protection of nuclear material situated on the territory of the signatory countries and the protection of nuclear facilities against sabotage. The introduction of new fundamental principles should make this new convention a more effective instrument.