In addition to the general weekly works inspections, ENSI specialists carry out topic-specific inspections at all works. In the field of electrical engineering, for example, they check reactor protection, which ensures that the installation is correctly switched off in an emergency.
ENSI does not only grant approvals in the case of upgrading. Modifications to constructions, parts of installations, systems, equipment and documents that are classified as relevant for safety or technical security have to be approved by law – even in the case of decommissioning.
A lot of time elapses before the radioactivity of the waste wears off. As the generation benefiting from nuclear energy, we have an obligation to find and implement sustainable solutions for radioactive waste management.
Research work helps in taking decisions and developing the instruments that ENSI needs in order to perform its functions. The insights gained help develop the competence needed for supervisory activities and creates independent expertise. Internationally networked projects deliver results that could not be achieved in Switzerland alone.
In an emergency ENSI ensures the rapid notification of the responsible authorities and specialist units such as the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC). Furthermore, ENSI specialists prepare forecasts on the anticipated development of the abnormal occurrence and its consequences.
«The safety authorities cultivate a frank exchange of information. Swiss experts, for instance, support French colleagues during inspections of their nuclear power plants – and vice-versa. In this way we learn from each other and share our wealth of experience for the benefit of all countries.»
The experts of the Safety Analyses department continually evaluate installations in normal operation and devote themselves to the modelling, forecasting and diagnosis of abnormal occurrences in order to establish the best possible safety standards. Their work is based on the latest methods and models that adequate describing the behaviour of a nuclear installation.
In addition to the technical aspects of nuclear safety there are human and organisational factors that also have to be taken into account. ENSI specialists analyse the handling of safety issues within an organisation and the psychological phenomena of employees at nuclear installations, in normal operation and in emergencies just as they analyse nuclear technology.
Radiological protection always begins by avoiding unnecessary exposure. One of the guiding principles behind radiological protection is therefore that the radiation burden on people should be kept as low as is reasonably achievable.