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The principles and players in regulating nuclear safety, radiation protection and environmental protection


Chapter 02

    1. Fundamental principles
      1. Principle of licensee prime responsibility
      2. "Polluter-pays" principle
      3. Precautionary principle
      4. Public participation principle
      5. The principle of justification
      6. The principle of optimisation
      7. The principle of limitation
      8. The principle of prevention
    2. Aspects of safety culture
      1. Safety management
      2. The Defence in Depth concept
      3. Interposing of barriers
      4. Deterministic and probabilistic approaches
    1. Parliament
      1. The French Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technical Choices
    2. The Government
      1. Ministers responsible for nuclear safety and radiation protection
      2. The Préfets
    3. The Nuclear Safety Authority
      1. Role and duties
      2. Organisation
      3. Operation
    4. Consultative bodies
      1. High Committee for Transparency and Information on Nuclear Security
      2. The High Council for Prevention of Technological Risks
      3. The High Council for Public Health
      4. The Central Committee for Pressure Equipment
    5. Technical support organisations
      1. IRSN
      2. The  Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety
      3. Advisory Committees of experts
      4. The ASN's other technical support organisations
    6. Other stakeholders
      1. French National Authority for Health
      2. The French Health Product Safety Agency (AFSSAPS)
      3. The French Health Monitoring Institute (InVS)
      4. French National Cancer Institute

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Openness, transparency and international cooperation are determining factors for safety, making the cultural context, the political framework and the existence of a democratic system equally as important as the technical aspects. Nuclear safety is a national responsibility but it can only be envisaged in a context of close and open international cooperation.

The regulation of nuclear safety and radiation protection involves all of the State structures:

  • Parliament, in particular the OPECST for definition of the main long-term options;
  • The Government, in particular the ministers responsible for nuclear safety and radiation protection and who are given general regulatory and decision-making powers concerning the creation of BNIs;
  • the ASN which, in particular, contributes to drafting of technical regulations, to monitoring and regulation of activities and to providing information to the public;
  • the IRSN and other bodies providing technical support;
  • the consultative bodies, which provide an outside view of the important decisions concerning nuclear safety and radiation protection;
  • the préfets, who are in charge of protecting the population.

2010, the fourth full year of ASN's existence as an independent administrative authority, was the opportunity for implementation of the ASN 2010−2012 Strategic Plan intended to strengthen the effectiveness and quality of the Authority's regulation and inspection of nuclear safety and radiation protection, in close liaison with other State bodies and with European neighbours, thereby confirming ASN's position and its responsibilities.

By creating a Scientific Committee, ASN has made a commitment to the field of research in order to identify the areas of knowledge that will be necessary for the expert knowledge that it will have to call on in the medium and long term.

The importance that the Authority attaches to having the appropriate skills is also evidenced in its approach to human resource management.

In conducting its activities, and in line with its independent status, ASN maintains strong ties with the other stakeholders involved in regulating or providing information about nuclear safety, radiation protection and protection of the environment.

The sums of money allocated by the State in 2010 to regulation and inspection of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France came wholly from the national budget and were shared amongst four programmes (181, 217, 218 and 190). As of 2011, they will be shared by five programmes (the above-mentioned four and programme 333, addressing pooled state resources in a decentralised context), with the addition of the annual tax raised for the benefit of IRSN and paid by BNI operators.

This complex budget structure obscures the overall picture of the cost of regulation and inspection, as well as leading to difficulties in preparing, arbitrating and implementing budgets. In this context, ASN considers necessary a review of its budgetary model and the grouping of the current items under a single programme for nuclear safety and radiation protection in France. The Authority is also of the opinion that the introduction of the tax in favour of the IRSN opens the way, and indeed tends to contribute to, a fundamental change in the way in which the State finances nuclear safety and radiation protection.

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