Commission on Safety Standards: Priorities defined for nuclear safety

The first meeting of the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) for the 2024 – 2027 term took place from the 28 – 30 May 2024. The emphasis of the meeting was on summarizing the findings from the last term and developing priorities for the next four years. Switzerland is chairing the current term.

The Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is commencing its eighth cycle. The main task of the Commission is to develop and update safety standards for nuclear and radiological safety based on the latest scientific and technological findings. The main focus of the 55th meeting, which took place from 28 to 30 May, was to specify priorities for the upcoming four-year cycle, to begin work on a long-term strategy for the next 10 to 15 years and to approve revised safety standards.

The CSS is the overarching body of the following five Safety Standards Committees (SSCs):

  • NUSSC (reactor safety),
  • RASSC (radiation protection),
  • WASSC (radioactive waste management),
  • TRANSSC (transport of radioactive material) and
  • EPReSC (emergency preparedness).

The CSS advises the IAEA and the SSCs by providing strategic directions for specification of the Agency’s safety standards.

CSS meetings are also attended by the Chair and the Scientific Secretary of the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC), so that they can advise on security recommendations.

ENSI is involved in all of the committees

The Safety Standards Committees meet twice a year and are attended by representatives from a multitude of countries. ENSI is actively involved in all committees. At CSS meetings, the committees report on the status of work on the further development of Safety Requirements and Safety Guides.

At a meeting during the 67th General Conference of the IAEA in Vienna at the end of 2023, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi confirmed ENSI Director Marc Kenzelmann as the new President (2024–2027) of the CSS. In consideration of his new presidency, Marc Kenzelmann stated, “I consider my nomination as president for four years to be a great honour, and will always act with the utmost respect while performing my duties. The Commission is committed to further developing the main safety standards and helping in the continuous improvement of global nuclear and radiological safety. I would like to thank Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi for the trust he has shown in me, and my predecessor Rumina Velshi of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission CNSC for all her valuable work.”

The permanent representative of Switzerland in the CSS is Rosa Sardella, Director of the Radiation Protection Division and Member of the ENSI Executive Board.

Commission on Safety Standards: Tasks of the Commission

The Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) is a permanent body of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It consists of 26 representatives drawn from nuclear and radiation protection regulatory authorities from across the world and is selected by the IAEA Director General. The CSS is reconstituted every four years, at which point a new president is also appointed. Marc Kenzelmann, Director of ENSI and President of CSS for the period 2024 to 2027, is replacing Rumina Velshi of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission CNSC.

The objective of the CSS: Nuclear and radiological safety should be at a comparable and good level worldwide. The IAEA works to develop the relevant foundations in cooperation with its member states and sets them in its safety standards. As part of voluntary review missions (for example, the Integrated Regulatory Review Service IRRS and International Physical Protection Advisory Service  IPPAS), the IAEA reviews the implementation of safety standards in the respective countries. The standards reflect the state of the art in science and technology. They are updated when new findings from operating experience or research becomes available.

The safety standards are among the most important publications of the IAEA. They include the basic principles, requirements and recommendations for ensuring nuclear and radiological safety. The standards include the following areas:

  • Reactor safety,
  • Radiation protection,
  • Transport of radioactive material and
  • Radioactive waste management.

In the field of nuclear security, the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC) is preparing the drafts for publication in the IAEA Nuclear Security Series.

The safety standards are divided into three levels:

  • Fundamental Safety Principles (Level 1),
  • Safety Requirements (Level 2) and
  • Safety Guides (Level 3).

Upon recommendation by the CSS, the IAEA Board of Governors adopts the Safety Fundamentals and Safety Requirements, while the IAEA Director General adopts the Safety Guides. The Deputy Director General as the head of the Department on Nuclear Safety and Security adopts the Nuclear Security Series.