IAEA mission reviews Finnish regulatory framework for nuclear safety

Late last week, a team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) senior regulators wrapped up an eight-day mission to Finland, during which they evaluated the country's progress in attending to findings from a 2012 Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission.

The mission revealed that major progress had been made -- of the 29 findings in the 2012 study that needed addressing, 26 had been corrected. The IRRS team concluded that Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) had strengthened its oversight and made significant progress.

Two new recommendations were also made by the IRRS team -- the confirmation of a law about the decommissioning of a nuclear installation and the change of licensure needed for the closures of a disposal facility.

“The mission has confirmed the international recognition of STUK as a credible regulatory body, continuously seeking improvement,” IRRS team leader Philippe Jamet, commissioner of the French nuclear safety authority (ASN). “The government has made significant improvements to strengthen the legal independence of STUK, although important steps are still ahead.”

STUK director Gen. Petteri Tiippana agreed.

“Follow-up missions are important to ensure that findings from the original mission are addressed in a timely manner,” he said. “This peer review strengthened our view that efforts made in Finland have been right. Work continues and therefore discussions with the team have been valuable and beneficial.”

Greg Rzentkowski, head of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, lauded Finland's efforts.

“STUK has made considerable progress in implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards and best international practices,” he said.

The final findings will be put into a report, which will be forwarded to STUK within three months.