Third International Workshop on Regulatory Control of Nuclear Legacy Sites and Radioactive Waste Management
19-21 November 2014, Moscow, Russian Federation
Legacy sites present unique challenges in that they:
- are existing sites
- were generally poorly managed (by today’s standards)
- are sometimes in an abandoned and/or uncontrolled state
- present a situation where remediation is needed but the necessary regulatory infrastructure is lacking
- have safety concerns that require appreciable financial resources to address
The International Forum for Regulatory Supervision of Legacy Sites (RSLS) has to date focused on uranium legacy sites (ULS); however, other types of legacy sites also present challenges and these were discussed at this workshop. This was the first RSLS workshop to address complex nuclear legacy sites and was the 3rd workshop held under the RSLS project. The Moscow workshop was opened by Dr Alexey Ferapontov (Deputy Chairman, Rostechnadzor), Dr Vladimir Romanov (Deputy Head, FMBA of Russia) and Mr John Rowat (IAEA).
The objective of the workshop was to exchange and share information and experience on regulatory supervision of legacy sites. This workshop built upon two previous workshops: one in early 2014 in Canada and one in the summer of 2012 in the USA. The US and Canadian workshops focused upon the regulatory supervision and national approaches to management of ULS. The Moscow workshop expanded beyond ULS to examine challenges at other types of legacy sites in addition to ULS. The Prospectus for the workshop provides further information.
The workshop was successful in meeting the goals of the RSLS Forum, namely:
- the exchange of information on nuclear legacy site remediation plans, and the role of regulatory supervision in planning activities
- the generation of mutual support through presentation and discussion on how regulatory supervision can be made effective and efficient
- and the collection and collation of information on nuclear legacy sites and the historical experience of legacy site supervision
All of the participants are engaged currently in management of legacy sites in their countries.
Day one of the workshop focused on presentations from the Russian Federation; these outlined in broad terms nuclear legacy issues in the Russian Federation with emphasis on regulatory infrastructure. Day two of the workshop was comprised of a series of Member State presentations that highlighted a number of important themes that are touched upon below.
Many countries have no legislation that relates specifically to legacy sites. Regulatory regimes for remediation tend to be complex and regulatory responsibility is often spread between many agencies. Complex sites present complex regulatory situations and in turn there is a need for strong coordination amongst regulatory authorities. The need for better coordination between regulatory agencies was a common theme of the workshop. Some countries are enacting new legislation to deal with the sometimes confusing distribution of authorities. A more unified legislative approach is clearly seen as a benefit to the safe, long-term management of legacy sites.
To assist in approaching the remediation of legacy sites, some Member States are using a risk-informed approach to priority setting.
There is still a wide range in the level of maturity in the regulatory regimes as they relate to legacy site issues. Some presenters credited previous RSLS meetings and workshops as helping with the development and application of strategic and regulatory approaches to legacy site issues within their countries. References to previous meetings and workshops, and recognition of lessons learned and applied from other Member States, demonstrate the effectiveness of the RSLS Forum. There was an emphasis in the presentations and discussions on the importance of defining policies and modernizing regulations aimed at prevention of future legacy sites.
Difficulties finding adequate and consistent funding were common themes and reiterate one of the recognized issues in dealing with inherited liabilities from past practices. Bilateral and multilateral support programmes were discussed, for example in Central Asia. It was noted by participants that although support for the development of their regulatory framework, training for staff, procurement of equipment and expert assistance in remedial design are appreciated, more effective coordination between donor organizations would be of benefit to their programmes. A strong regulatory framework is essential in order to make a strong case to attract funds for remediation.
The presentations from Member States included legacy issues beyond the uranium focus, which has been the main theme of RSLS during the first three year cycle of the Forum. Although significant work still remains to be done on ULS, the focus of RSLS in its second three year cycle would benefit from consideration of legacy non-uranium sites and the problems associated with their regulation and management.
The excellent support provided by the Russian Federation for the workshop was acknowledged and very much appreciated by participants. The workshop was ably chaired by Mr. Arnaldo Mezrahi from Brazil.
The International Forum for Regulatory Supervision (RSLS) is open to all IAEA Member States and is a means to support regulatory bodies worldwide. New members are welcome.
For further information please contact