The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has sent proposals for three new regulations for formal consultation. The proposed regulations concern the design, analysis and operation of nuclear power reactors and are intended to take effect on 1 January 2022.
SSM said work on the new regulations has been ongoing since 2013, but the need for new regulations was raised as early as 2011 and 2012 following reviews of the then regulations in Sweden by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The regulator said, "A very comprehensive update of previous regulations has taken place, with the ultimate aim of maintaining and improving radiation safety at nuclear power plants."
The new regulations on the design, analysis and operation of nuclear power reactors cover all aspects of radiation safety: safety, radiation protection and physical protection. SSM said they take into account requirements in accordance with EU regulations and international standards and should, among other things, lead to the nuclear power reactors' ability to handle radiological emergencies being improved and the protection against hostile events being strengthened. Requirements are also placed on further analysis of how the facilities are able to handle internal and external events that can lead to early and large releases of radioactive substances.
"Swedish nuclear power reactors are now entering a new phase where the operation goes beyond the approximately 40 years for which they were originally designed," said Lars Skånberg, advisor in nuclear safety at SSM and project manager for the regulatory project. "This places additional demands on the licensees to ensure both that radiation safety is maintained and that it gradually continues to improve.
"This means, among other things, that the requirements for maintenance and ageing management are reviewed, tightened and expanded through the new regulations. The regulations can also be applied to any new nuclear power reactors."
SSM Director General Nina Cromnier added, "This is a very important milestone in work that has been going on for a long time and which modernises and clarifies the requirements for Sweden's nuclear power reactors."
Sweden's seven operating nuclear power reactors at three sites - Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals - provide about 40% of its electricity.