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Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF)

The Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) is a member-driven forum of nuclear power regulators that promotes the sharing of regulatory knowledge and experience through international cooperation and collaboration using the IAEA Safety Standards as its basis.

Objectives

The RCF involves countries with advanced nuclear power programmes, countries embarking on nuclear power for the first time and countries with smaller programmes considering expansion. The primary objectives of the RCF are:

  • To promote collaboration and cooperation among RCF members to improve coordination of support for regulatory infrastructure development;
  • To contribute to achieving and sustaining a high level of nuclear safety, consistent with the IAEA Safety Standards and Guidance;
  • To optimise resources among RCF members and avoid unnecessary support duplication through improved coordination.

Guiding principles

The RCF implements its programme through guiding and operating principles, and recommendations summarised as follows:

  • The RCF is a member-driven forum of regulators of nuclear power and relevant international organisations.
  • Members must assume full responsibility for their own regulatory body development.
  • The scope of the RCF is currently limited to regulatory safety infrastructure development for nuclear power plants.
  • RCF support activities are focussed on regulatory authorities of Member States actively pursuing development of their nuclear safety regulatory infrastructures.
  • The RCF will respect existing and future cooperation arrangements (bi-lateral or otherwise), including the disposition or application of resources, among its members.
  • Each forum participant will make its own financial arrangements for participating in RCF activities.

Membership of the RCF

Membership of the RCF is open to all Member States of the IAEA. Participants in RCF activities will normally be senior representatives from regulatory bodies in Member States and from other providers, including the IAEA, European Commission (EC) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Observers from other international or regional organisations may be invited to attend meetings or participate in RCF activities on a case-by-case basis or continuing basis by decision of the Steering Committee.

Current RCF members are the following:

Bangladesh, Belarus, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, International Atomic Energy Agency, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Nuclear Energy Agency, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and Viet Nam.

To join the RCF, the IAEA Member State’s most senior regulatory body official should request membership through the RCF Secretariat by letter or by email.

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Activities

RCF 2011In 2014, the RCF developed Action Plans to support Belarus and Poland. Additionally, the forum has been coordinating RCF support for Jordan and Viet Nam since 2010 and 2012 respectively.

The IAEA’s Nuclear Safety Action Plan urges Member States to strengthen the effectiveness of national regulatory bodies as well as base the development of their nuclear infrastructures on IAEA Safety Standards. The RCF assists Member States in implementing both of these actions for embarking, existing and expanding nuclear programmes.

The RCF has a number of implementing arrangements, including:

  • An RCF plenary meeting is held once per year, normally during the IAEA General Conference, to present the RCF and its objectives to IAEA Member States, particularly those embarking on nuclear power, and encourage them to join.
  • A support meeting is held annually for information exchange to coordinate assistance.
  • A Steering Committee meeting is held once a year to approve membership and make programmatic decisions.
  • Working groups are being established to work on specific programmatic and/or country-specific tasks.
  • Ad-hoc meetings may be held between RCF members to share experiences regarding support activities.
  • A secure RCF website has been established and is being maintained to share information and promote work of the RCF. A public version of the RCF website will be made available through the IAEA’s Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network in the International Regulatory Network (RegNet) environment.
  • The RCF continuously evaluates its activities and provides feedback for continuous improvement.

The IAEA, apart from its role as an RCF provider member, functions as the RCF Secretariat working to:

  • Facilitate RCF meetings;
  • Maintain RCF programme documents;
  • Maintain and improve both the RCF public and restricted webpages;
  • Analyse and share lessons learned and to promote coordination among RCF members and communication with external stakeholders, using extra-budgetary funds contributed to the RCF for its activities.

Support Criteria

Recipient candidates seeking support must show a strong commitment to the development (or expansion) of their nuclear power programme. Before support is provided, the RCF Steering Committee reviews candidates using the following criteria:

  • The Member State regulatory body is a member of the RCF and has requested support through the RCF Secretariat.
  • The nuclear safety regulatory body has been established and funded through national legislation.
  • Milestone 1 (Ready to Make a Knowledgeable Commitment to a Nuclear Programme) of the IAEA’s Milestones Document has been completed, or is near completion.
  • Training and/or IAEA advisory service or regional network support on Safety Guide, SSG-16 “Establishing the Safety Infrastructure for a Nuclear Power Programme” has been received.
  • A self-assessment to identify its regulatory body needs has been completed and support gaps have been identified.
  • The recipient requesting RCF support has existing or near term planned bi-lateral or multi-lateral arrangements with countries having mature nuclear power programmes.
  • The recipient requesting support is a Contracting Party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS).

Finances

The RCF relies on voluntary extra-budgetary contributions from its members. All RCF members will normally make their own financial arrangements to participate in RCF activities. When financing is needed for transportation and expenses, the RCF general budget (if available through extra-budgetary contributions) may finance these activities on a case-by-case basis. The RCF general budget will not finance recipient or provider staff time. Limited funds may be available through the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme. Additionally, there may be situations in which Member States or external organisations, such as the European Union, may fund costs related to activities by mutual arrangement.

Registration and Access

How to register for the RCF Services

RCF Members only webpage

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| Last update: Monday, September 01, 2014.