International relations overview

The French nuclear fleet monitored by ASN - the French Nuclear Safety Authority - is one of the most diversified in the world. ASN therefore aims to ensure that its control on nuclear safety and radiation protection constitutes an international reference.

The Act of 13th June 2006 relative to transparency and security in the nuclear field, which established ASN as an administrative authority independent of the Government, underpins its legitimacy. It also instituted the Commission of Commissioners, giving ASN a new operational vector of outreach and presence. Its international missions are assigned to it by Article 9 of the Act of 13th June 2006:

ASN addresses the Government its proposals for defining the French position in international negotiations in its areas of competence. At the request of the Government, it participates in the French representation in the fora of the international and European Community organisations competent in these areas. For application of international agreements or European Union regulations concerning radiological emergencies, ASN is competent to alert and inform the authorities of third States or to receive alerts and information from them.

International relations represent an important part of ASN's activities, as they constitute an effective means of improving nuclear safety and radiation protection both in France and abroad. They give ASN and its foreign counterparts better mutual knowledge and understanding of their respective methods of functioning and the problems with which they are confronted. They also provide a means of assisting countries that wish to create, develop or make changes to their nuclear safety and radiation protection authority.  

And lastly they are the engine driving progress towards the vital goal of harmonising principles and standards in nuclear safety and radiation protection.

The end-purpose of ASN's action in this area consists in developing a common approach to nuclear safety, without making the slightest concession with regard to the fundamental principle: nuclear safety must be the first priority.

Exchanges with foreign counterparts

  ASN favours exchanges with its foreign counterparts in order to:

  • deepen its approach, improve its knowledge of the actual functioning of the foreign nuclear safety and radiation protection authorities and draw lessons from this for its own functioning and, where applicable, reinforce its arguments in technical discussions with the French licensees,
  • make known its approach and practices, promote its safety approach, provide assistance to countries wishing to create or develop their regulatory authority (Eastern European states, certain emerging countries), assist –at their request - foreign regulatory bodies who have to deliver licenses for equipment made or designed in France,
  • inform foreign countries of events that have occurred in France and provide the countries concerned with all relevant information concerning the French nuclear facilities situated near their borders
  • inform the French public about what is happening abroad if a serious event occurs in another foreign country or region.

Participation in the work of international organisations

ASN participates in the work of international organisations in the areas of nuclear safety and radiation protection in order to:

  • play an active part in the development of European Community (EC) law in the nuclear field and in the harmonisation of the principles and standards for nuclear safety and radiation protection,
  • contribute to ensuring that the reference texts published state the best worldwide principles and reflect the best worldwide practices,
  • implement the French State' commitments concerning nuclear safety and radiation protection, in particular within the framework of international conventions, and submit itself to the peer reviews and inspections (also, see the IRRS section).