National Report 2

Finnish report on nuclear safety

Finnish 2nd national report as referred to in Article 5 of the Convention on Nuclear Safety

Publication STUK-B 210 (pdf)


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Finland signed on 20 September 1994 the Convention on Nuclear Safety which was adopted on 17 June 1994 in the Vienna Diplomatic Conference. The Convention was ratified on 5 January 1996, and it came into force in Finland on 24 October 1996.

In the first report, the implementation of each of the Articles 4 and 6 to 19 of the Convention was separately evaluated. Based on the evaluation it was concluded that

  • the Finnish nuclear and radiation regulations fulfil the obligations of the Convention
  • the Finnish regulatory infrastructure is in compliance with the Convention obligations
  • the regulatory and licensee practices comply with the Convention obligations.

It was concluded in the first report that Finland had implemented the obligations of the Convention. Also the objectives of the Convention were complied with.

The principle in Finland has been a continuous fulfilment of the criteria presented in the Articles of the Convention and further enhancement of nuclear safety and regulatory activities. Issues that required measures to further enhance nuclear safety in Finland were discussed in the first report. In addition, some new issues requiring measures were identified during the First Review Meeting.

A full scope IRRT mission was conducted by IAEA in Finland in March 2000. It resulted in recommendations that will improve regulatory activities when implemented according to a prepared action plan.

The second report focuses especially on the changes related to the regulatory control infrastructure under the scope of the Convention Articles. The report includes also issues identified in the First Review Meeting and during the IRRT mission and subsequent measures and development activities. Based on the evaluation done during the preparation of the second report, it can be concluded that Finnish regulations and practices continue to be in compliance with the obligations of the Convention.

Finnish 1st and 2nd national reports to the Convention as well as Finnish legislation and other regulations are available on STUK's Internet site at http://www.stuk.fi.


CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1 INTRODUCTION

2 COMPLIANCE WITH ARTICLES 4 AND 6 TO 19

2.1 Article-by-article review

Article 4. Implementing measures
Article 6. Existing nuclear installations
Article 7. Legislative and regulatory framework
Article 8. Regulatory body
Article 9. Responsibility of the licence holder
Article 10. Priority to safety
Article 11. Financial and human resources
Article 12. Human factors
Article 13. Quality assurance
Article 14. Assessment and verification of safety
Article 15. Radiation protection
Article 16. Emergency preparedness
Article 17. Siting
Article 18. Design and construction
Article 19. Operation

2.2 Concluding summary on the fulfilment of the obligations

3 PLANNED ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE SAFETY

4 CONCLUSIONS ON BENEFITS FROM THE FIRST REVIEW MEETING

ANNEX I Prescriptivity and consistency of Finnish nuclear regulations and guides

ANNEX II Development of the safety of the Loviisa nuclear power plant

ANNEX III Development of the safety of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant

ANNEX IV Development of safety culture in Finland


1 INTRODUCTION

The fulfilment of the obligations of the Convention was evaluated in the first report. It was concluded that Finland had implemented the obligations of the Convention. The objectives of the Convention are also complied with.

The second report focuses on the changes related to the regulatory control infrastructure and nuclear safety under the scope of the Convention Articles. The report also includes matters that were identified during the first evaluation and review meeting to require further measures to enhance safety in Finland and also the results of international missions and self-assessments conducted after the First Review Meeting. These issues and their consequent measures in Finland are discussed in this report under each Article.

In Finland, there are two nuclear power plants: the Loviisa and Olkiluoto plants. The Loviisa plant has two VVER units, operated by Fortum Power and Heat Oy (former Imatran Voima Oy), and the Olkiluoto plant two BWR units, operated by Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO). The Loviisa units were connected to the electrical grid in 1977 (unit 1) and 1980 (unit 2) and the Olkiluoto units 1 and 2 in 1978 and 1980, respectively. The nominal thermal power of both Loviisa units is 1500 MW. The Operating Licenses of the Loviisa units are valid until the end of 2007. The nominal thermal power of both Olkiluoto units is 2500 MW. The Operating Licenses of the Olkiluoto units are valid until the end of 2018. According to the conditions of the Olkiluoto license, the licensee shall carry out an intermediate safety assessment by the end of 2008. This assessment will be reviewed by STUK. At both sites there are fresh and spent fuel storage facilities, and facilities for the storage and final disposal of low and medium level radioactive wastes.

Teollisuuden Voima Oy applied at the end of 2000 for a Decision in Principle for a fifth reactor unit in Finland. The licensing process is going on. In preparation for the Decision in Principle by the Council of State in this matter, statements were collected from all stakeholder groups by the end of March 2001. The Decision in Principle by the Council of State needs to be confirmed by simple majority of the Parliament according to the Finnish licensing process.

In the Vienna Diplomatic Conference in 1994 Finland informed that it observes the principles of the Convention, when applicable, also in uses of nuclear energy other than nuclear power plants, e.g. research reactors and facilities for nuclear wastes. In Finland, such facilities are the TRIGA Mark II research reactor (250 kW) in Espoo and the final disposal facilities for low and medium level radioactive waste at the Olkiluoto and Loviisa plant sites. The TRIGA Mark II reactor was taken into operation in 1962 and the disposal facilities at Olkiluoto in 1992 and at Loviisa in 1998. The Operating License of the TRIGA reactor was renewed in 1999 and it is valid until the end of 2011. The new license was issued after a comprehensive safety review.

Spent fuel from the Olkiluoto plant has been stored in the intermediate storage facility at the plant site. Earlier, at the Loviisa plant, spent fuel was stored in the storage of the plant for some years, after which it was transported to Russia. Due to the changes made in the Nuclear Energy Act in 1994, the spent fuel generated in Finland has nowadays to be treated, stored and disposed of in Finland. Accordingly, spent fuel shipments to Russia were terminated at the end of 1996 and Fortum Power and Heat Oy constructed additional spent fuel storage capacity at the Loviisa site.

The research into development and planning of spent fuel disposal as well as its later implementation is carried out by Posiva Oy, a company owned by the Finnish nuclear power plant utilities. In this final disposal programme, the first licensing step has recently been completed. Posiva's application for the Decision in Principle was approved, after STUK's safety review, by the proposed host municipality in January 2000, by the Council of State in December 2000 and by the Parliament in May 2001. The next step will be the construction of an underground research facility at the Olkiluoto site and further research and development work prior to the submittal of a construction license application.

In Chapter 2 of this report, the changes made and ongoing or planned development activities under the areas of Articles 6 to 19 of the Convention are reported. If there are no relevant changes made after the First Review Meeting or ongoing or planned development under the scope of the Article, reference to the first report is given.

In the First Review Meeting, the following recommendations on the second Finnish national report were given:

  • information on methods used at Finnish nuclear power plants, regulatory body and other related organisations to enhance safety culture (see Annex IV),
  • continued reporting on how the regulatory body and operators benefit from the exchange of experience with other countries operating similar plants (see Article 19 and Annexes II and III),
  • evaluation of the possible prescriptive features of the regulatory system and assessment of their impact on the development on safety (see Article 7 and Annex I),
  • presentation on plant modernisation programmes (see Annexes II and III).

These issues are discussed in this report as indicated in the brackets above.

Taking into account the discussions and observations in the First Review Meeting, a list of items requiring further actions in Finland was prepared (see Chapter 4). These items are also discussed in this report.

An IRRT team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) evaluated in spring 2000 STUK's effectiveness as an authority in ensuring nuclear and radiation safety. The results of the mission are presented in the IRRT report, which is available on STUK's Internet site. In the report, STUK's expertise was fully recognised. In addition, developed legislation, STUK's comprehensive quality assurance programme, nuclear and radiation safety research and emergency preparedness were reported as good practices. Some valuable recommendations and suggestions for the further enhancement of regulatory activities related to nuclear safety were also given. For example, attention was paid to the adequacy of internal procedures for enforcement activities and possible prescriptive features of the Finnish safety regulations. However, none of the issues were found to be serious enough for immediate corrective measures in Finland. A special action plan was prepared to take care of the identified deficiencies.


2 COMPLIANCE WITH ARTICLES 4 AND 6 TO 19

2.1 Article-by-article review

Article 4. Implementing measures

Each Contracting Party shall take, within the framework of its national law, the legislative, regulatory and administrative measures and other steps necessary for implementing its obligations under this Convention.

The legislative, regulatory and other measures to fulfil the obligations of the Convention were discussed in detail in the first report. It was concluded that the Finnish regulatory framework fulfils the obligations of the Convention, and also the objectives of the Convention are complied with. The approach in Finland is a continuous fulfilment of the criteria presented in the Articles of the Convention. This approach of a continuous improvement of safety is also manifested in the Finnish nuclear legislation.

During the First Review Meeting some issues were identified to require measures to further enhance safety in Finland. Also international missions and self-assessments conducted after the First Review Meeting have resulted in recommendations that will improve safety in Finland when implemented according to specific action plans. These issues and the subsequent measures in Finland are discussed in this report under Articles 6 to19.

Article 6. Existing nuclear installations

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that the safety of nuclear installations existing at the time the Convention enters into force for that Contracting Party is reviewed as soon as possible. When necessary in the context of this Convention, the Contracting Party shall ensure that all reasonably practicable improvements are made as a matter of urgency to upgrade the safety of the nuclear installation. If such upgrading cannot be achieved, plans should be implemented to shut down the nuclear installation as soon as practically possible. The timing of the shutdown may take into account the whole energy context and possible alternatives as well as the social, environmental and economic impact.

The safety of both Finnish nuclear power plants was extensively reviewed during 1997 and 1998, when operating licenses were renewed as described in the first report. The next comprehensive safety evaluations will be done in 2006-2009. Meanwhile, the enhancement of safety of the Finnish nuclear power plants is based on the results of continuous safety assessments. This comprises the results of deterministic and probabilistic safety assessments, safety research, periodic inspection programmes, analyses of operating experience and topical inspections. The continuous safety assessment and enhancement approach is based on the Finnish nuclear legislation (Council of State Decision (395/1991), Section 27) where it is stated that operating experience from nuclear power plants as well as results of safety research shall be systematically followed and assessed. For further safety enhancement, actions shall be taken which can be regarded as justified considering operating experience and the results of safety research as well as the advancement of science and technology. The implementation of safety improvements has been a continuing process at both Finnish nuclear power plants since their commissioning and there exists no urgent need to upgrade the safety of these plants in the context of the Convention. Recently implemented and ongoing safety upgrading measures, mostly related to the mitigation of severe accidents at the nuclear power plants, are described in more detail in Annexes II and III.

In addition to the continuous regulatory safety assessment, there have been independent safety reviews conducted by WANO at both Finnish nuclear power plants after the First Review Meeting (Olkiluoto nuclear power plant at the end of 1999 and Loviisa nuclear power plant at the beginning of 2001).

The safety of the Finnish research reactor (TRIGA Mark II 250 kW pool reactor) was reviewed before its operating license was renewed in 1999. The new license is valid until the end of 2011. Until that time, the safety of the TRIGA reactor is continuously reviewed according to STUK's periodic inspection programme.

Article 7. Legislative and regulatory framework

Each Contracting Party shall establish and maintain a legislative and regulatory framework to govern the safety of nuclear installations.

The legislative and regulatory framework shall provide for:

  • the establishment of applicable national safety requirements and regulations;
  • a system of licensing with regard to nuclear installations and the prohibition of the operation of a nuclear installation without a licence;
  • a system of regulatory inspection and assessment of nuclear installations to ascertain compliance with applicable regulations and the terms of licences;
  • the enforcement of applicable regulations and of the terms of licences, including suspension, modification or revocation.

The legislative and regulatory framework in Finland was described in detail in the first report. There have been no major changes. However, the following minor changes are reported in the context of Convention Article 7.

Legislative and regulatory framework

The nuclear energy legislation has been amended to take into account the changes made in the national pressure equipment legislation (1999). Earlier the legislation for pressure equipment in conventional facilities was used as the basis, as far it was applicable, for the regulatory control of pressure equipment in nuclear facilities. However, after implementing the European Council Directive 97/23/EC of 29 May 1997, on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning pressure equipment, there was a need to provide a basis for the control of pressure equipment of nuclear facilities directly in the nuclear legislation. This was due to the fact, that the above Directive explicitly excludes nuclear related pressure equipment from its scope. These amendments to nuclear energy legislation (the Nuclear Energy Act and the Nuclear Energy Decree) did not have any essential effect on the scope or procedures of the regulatory control of nuclear safety related pressure equipment.

The Nuclear Energy Act has been amended (2000) to implement the new additional protocols of the IAEA Safeguards Agreements under the International Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) for expanding the safeguards control. This amendment will be set into force after all procedural requirements concerning notifications by EURATOM have been met.

The radiation protection legislation (the Radiation Act and the Radiation Decree) has been amended (1999) to implement the European Council Directives 96/29 EURATOM of 13 May 1996, laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation, and 97/43/Euratom of 30 June 1997, on the protection of the health of individuals against the dangers of ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure.

The Council of State has issued a new decision for the general regulations on the safety of the disposal of spent fuel (1999). Finland has accepted the International Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

The Act on Rescue Services and the subsequent Decree have been totally revised in 1999. The earlier rescue service legislation was combined with the civil defence legislation. The roles and duties of authorities in the area of emergency preparedness of nuclear facilities were not changed.

In the area of administrative legislation the new Publicity Act was issued in 1999. The new act supports the principles of transparency and openness in regulatory actions and, furthermore, realises the constitutional right of citizens to participate in decision making on environmental matters. In practice, the new law provides the citizens with a better access to regulatory documents in the preparation phase, and also requires, that the authorities actively inform the citizens on matters under preparation.

The regulatory guides prepared and issued by STUK are being continuously re-evaluated for updating. The general rule stemming from the Quality System of STUK requires that a guide shall first be re-evaluated after five years from its issuance. This re-evaluation does not always lead to a revision of the guide. However, 10 years of age is considered a limit that automatically launches the revision of a guide. Since 1999 safety-related requirements have not experienced major changes in the sense of technical content, but e.g. the document system internal consistency in sense of terminology and structure has been approved. In addition, the procedures of applying new guides to existing nuclear facilities have been focused.

As one specific development effort, a limited self-assessment was carried out to evaluate the consistency of requirements that apply to the submitting of documents to STUK. The requirements within operational safety area were reviewed identifying documents to be sent to STUK for approval or for information only. The study concluded that the existing requirements are still valid and well in balance with the needs of an effective regulatory control system. A further assessment covering documents in all technical and administrative areas will be carried out in connection with a development project for Information Management. In this project opportunities provided through modern Intranet and especially Extranet applications are being studied for use in correspondence and document submittance between STUK and the licensees. An Extranet application provides several possibilities to limit the amount of paper documentation submitted to authorities. Also the continuous updating of plant documentation (e.g. FSAR) could easily be taken care of. Discussions with the Finnish licensees on the matter continue.

Activities to further develop and enhance the internal consistency of the regulatory guide system as well as to ensure the catch-all coverage of the regulations are discussed in detail in Annex I.

Licensing procedure

The licensing procedure of nuclear facilities in Finland is described in the nuclear legislation and has not been changed after the First Review Meeting. The so-called periodic safety reviews have been built into the relicensing procedure. In Finland the legislation allows only fixed term licenses, and in general a license has been issued for 10 years at a time. If the license is granted for a longer period, an equivalent safety review will be required as a separate license condition.

Regulatory inspections

STUK's periodic inspection programme for nuclear power plants was renewed during 1998 and inspections in 1999 were conducted according to the new programme consisting of altogether 30 inspections. This programme replaced the former programme that had been in place for about 10 years. The new programme is focused more on licensee main working processes instead of specific technically oriented areas, and is considered to cover the most relevant areas of nuclear power plant safety. The new programme has three levels: safety management, main working processes and propriety of the activities in different organisational and technical areas. The objective of the inspection process is to assess the safety level at the plants as well as the safety management. Possible problems at the plants and in procedures of the operating organisations are to be recognised as soon as possible. Special emphasis has been put on the improved management of the entire inspection programme, including the timely conduct and accurate reporting of results. The results of the new programme have been good. Some development areas (conduct of unannounced inspections, more specific inspection procedures) were identified during the IRRT mission and by self-assessment. At the moment, STUK is developing Risk Informed Regulation practices. These include among others use of PSA for planning regulatory inspections to focus inspections on risk significant areas. It also includes assessment of inspection findings by PSA.

In addition to the periodic inspection programme, STUK conducts ad-hoc inspections if seen necessary. In the past, these have mainly related to operating event investigations (both domestic and international events), but also on the consequences of the development of science and technology. These inspections are usually conducted by an investigation team including 3-5 experts from STUK.

Enforcement

The enforcement tools and procedures of regulators have not been changed and are considered to fully meet the needs. The repertoire of these tools will be issued in an internal policy document as part of STUK's Quality System to serve for training.

Article 8. Regulatory body

Each Contracting Party shall establish or designate a regulatory body entrusted with the implementation of the legislative and regulatory framework referred to in Article 7, and provided with adequate authority, competence and financial and human resources to fulfil its assigned responsibilities.

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure an effective separation between the functions of the regulatory body and those of any other body or organisation concerned with the promotion or utilisation of nuclear energy.

The regulatory system in Finland was described in detail in the first report. The structure of the regulatory system in Finland has not been changed. However, some minor changes have taken place after the First Review Meeting and these are reported below.

In the area of regulatory control, the strategy of financing the work has been reconsidered. The earlier financing model to get the resources from the State budget, was changed to so called net-budgeting model. This means that the licensees pay the regulatory control fees directly to STUK. This approach to finance governmental regulatory activities became a common practice in Finland in the 1990's. The change was carefully analysed and discussed among the parties involved. The conclusion was that considering the long traditions and stability of the amount of regulatory control no concern of loosing the required objectivity was foreseen. Also it was clearly recognised that the amounts charged would continuously be under the control of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The change in the financing procedure has not changed the actual costs of regulatory control activities.

The organisation of the Department of Nuclear Reactor Regulation of STUK has undergone some changes: a new office, that of Human and Organisational Factors (3 persons), has been established to develop appropriate functional methods to oversee the licensees' organisation and personnel activities. The office also co-ordinates research activities on the effects of organisational and human factors as well as event investigation, and develops methods to assess safety culture. The office also gives recommendations to improve regulatory control methods based on research results. The other change was made to clarify and highlight STUK's role in the co-ordination of national and international co-operation in nuclear safety research: a new organisational unit, "Research Management" (2 persons), was established within the Department of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

The independence of STUK's technical support has been evaluated in 2000. The evaluation included quality audits to the five research units of the Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT, the main technical support organisation of STUK. The audits were performed by Qualitas Fennica Ltd. The audits concentrated on activities and work processes that are essential to nuclear safety and safety related research. Independence problems were not discovered in these audits. On the other hand, one essential element in this respect is STUK's in-house expertise providing independence when drawing conclusions from research results. However, based on the audit results, the quality systems of these research units have been further improved taking into account STUK's point of view concerning the required independence from utility driven research projects. Two follow-up audits will be conducted in October 2001. A similar quality audit will be carried out at the Geological Survey of Finland, GTK, at the end of 2001. This means that all main support organisations of STUK have then been evaluated.

Article 9. Responsibility of the licence holder

Each Contracting Party shall ensure that prime responsibility for the safety of a nuclear installation rests with the holder of the relevant licence and shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that each such licence holder meets its responsibility.

The responsibility for the safety rests with the licensee as manifested in the Nuclear Energy Act. STUK verifies that the licensee meets its responsibility as described in the first review report. These principles have not changed after the First Review Meeting.

The existence and further maturing of this responsibility originate from the safety culture of the licensee organisation. The regulatory activities to support the safety culture among the Finnish nuclear community are discussed in Annex IV.

The financial provisions to cover the possible harms of a nuclear accident have been arranged according to the Paris and Brussels Conventions. Finland has supported the international efforts to revise the Paris and Brussels Conventions for Nuclear Third Party Liability in order to raise the funds made available by the Contract Parties in case of accidents.

Article 10. Priority to safety

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that all organizations engaged in activities directly related to nuclear installations shall establish policies that give due priority to nuclear safety.

Safety is emphasised in the general principles of the Nuclear Energy Act and an advanced safety culture is required to be maintained when designing, constructing and operating nuclear power plants. These principles and priorities have not changed after the First Review Meeting. However, special emphasis has been put on the following areas after the First Review Meeting.

Attention has been paid to safety culture in the operation and maintenance of Finnish nuclear power plants. STUK has taken an active role in this area and both developed its own culture and taken the initiative in the assessment and development of the culture of the utility organisations. This work is described in more detail in Annex IV. At the Loviisa and Olkiluoto nuclear power plants, actions have been taken to emphasise a high level of safety culture, and to further develop it. The licensees have established written quality and safety policies.

Both utilities have organisational units for safety. They are independent of those units, which are directly responsible for the operation of the plants. In addition to the safety units, both utilities have independent safety committees with external expert members.

Attention has also been paid to the impact of the deregulation of energy markets to the priority to safety. In spite of the limited expected impact of market deregulation, there is a development project within STUK aiming to make sure that the periodic inspection programme continues to provide relevant information also in the deregulated market. The project reviews the effects, which market deregulation has had so far in Finland and also in other countries, and how these effects should or could have been manifested by the inspection programme. If some areas are identified where a significant reduction in the utilities' capability to sustain a high safety level could occur, modifications in the inspection programme will be made accordingly. In addition, STUK has some indicators in its indicator system to detect the possible impact of market deregulation on plant safety. One is the rate of annual investment (Figures 1 and 2). The costs of large modernisation programmes at both nuclear power plants during 1996-2000 can be seen in these figures. These figures are only used to trend changes over time. Other indicators are related to trending of the quality of maintenance activities.

Year 2000: 25 228 000 Euro

Figure 1. The annual rate of investments at Olkiluoto.


Year 2000: 16 818 793 Euro

Figure 2. The annual rate of investments at Loviisa.


STUK has updated its own Quality Policy in 1999. The Quality Policy includes also STUK's values that are engaged to every day work giving the highest priority to the prevention and mitigation of the harmful effects of radiation.

Article 11. Financial and human resources

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that adequate financial resources are available to support the safety of each nuclear installation throughout its life.

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that sufficient numbers of qualified staff with appropriate education, training and retraining are available for all safety-related activities in or for each nuclear installation, throughout its life.

Adequate financial and human recourses are a condition for the granting of a construction and operating license according to the Nuclear Energy Act. This shall be complied with throughout the operation of the facility. These principles have not changed after the First Review Meeting. However, effects of the deregulation of the energy markets need to be carefully followed in Finland to ensure that adequate financial recourses are available to support safety. STUK has a development project for this issue as described under Article 10.

In spring 2000, the Ministry of Trade and Industry set up a working group to analyse the contents and scope of the know-how required to continue the safe operation of nuclear power plants. The task of the group was to identify the measures needed during a period of five to ten years to maintain the high level of expertise despite changes in the operating environment such as deregulation of the energy market and the growing turnover of personnel due to the retirement of many experts. The group also assessed which of the services required could be provided through international co-operation. Another task of the group was to estimate the need to train new experts and to propose measures ensuring that a sufficient number of highly skilled experts would be trained. The study indicates that in general the availability of the services needed and the level of expertise are sufficient today. However, the resource basis is very narrow in some fields of competence, and in some cases special measures are called for in the next 5 to 10 years. The most critical fields will be reactor physics and dynamics, fires, human and organisational factors and programmable automation. Also areas such as severe accidents and ageing require special attention and financial resources in the future. However, the uncertainties related to the continuation of the public funding of nuclear safety research could have some effect on the attractiveness of the research field to young experts. The age distribution of personnel working in organisations in the nuclear energy sector indicates that the need for new experts will increase two- or even three-fold within the next five to ten years due to retirement. The current training capacity of universities is adequate to meet this need.

STUK has paid special attention to the strategy for personnel development and to ensuring sufficient amount of experts in the utility organisations. Both utilities have a systematic approach to training. However, changes in energy markets and the fast development of technology will bring new challenges to the knowledge, and this requires special emphasis of all parties.

Article 12. Human factors

Each Contracting party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that the capabilities and limitations of human performance are taken into account throughout the life of a nuclear installation.

Section 19 of the Decision of the Council of State (395/1991) requires special attention to be paid to the avoidance, detection and correction of human errors. This applies to the design, construction and operation of the facility. These requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting. Recently STUK has paid special attention to the assessment of human and organisational factors in abnormal events and transients and working processes in the nuclear power plants. A separate organisational unit has been established and expertise in behavioural science has been recruited as described under Article 8.

Article 13. Quality assurance

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that quality assurance programmes are established and implemented with a view to providing confidence that specified requirements for all activities important to nuclear safety are satisfied throughout the life of a nuclear installation.

Based on the Nuclear Energy Decree, a quality assurance programme for the design, construction and operation of the nuclear facility needs to be submitted to STUK when applying for a construction and operating license. According to Section 5 of the Decision of the Council of State (395/1991), a quality assurance programme shall be employed in all activities that affect safety, from design to operation. Quality assurance programmes have to be established also by all other organisations taking part in safety important activities of the use of nuclear energy. These basic requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting. At the moment, STUK's YVL Guides that set more detailed requirements for quality assurance programmes are being updated. The new guides will closely follow IAEA guidelines. In addition, both licensees are in the process of developing their quality systems. More information on the work carried out by the licensees can be found in Annexes II and III. As described under Article 8, STUK has also paid attention to the quality systems of its support organisations.

STUK's Quality Manual has been prepared and implemented since the First Review Meeting. It includes STUK's quality policy, description of the quality system, organisation and management, main and supporting working processes and personnel policy. Numerous internal audits, self-assessments and international evaluations have revealed development areas that are now being tackled by STUK. In addition to STUK's Quality Manual, all organisational units of STUK have their own more detailed Quality Manuals. The Quality Manual prepared for the regulatory control of the use of nuclear energy has been benchmarked with other regulators under the auspices of OECD/NEA working groups and bilateral agreements.

Article 14. Assessment and verification of safety

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that:

  • comprehensive and systematic safety assessments are carried out before the construction and commissioning of a nuclear installation and throughout its life. Such assessments shall be well documented, subsequently updated in the light of operating experience and significant new safety information, and reviewed under the authority of the regulatory body;
  • verification by analysis, surveillance, testing and inspection is carried out to ensure that the physical state and the operation of a nuclear installation continue to be in accordance with its design, applicable national safety requirements, and operational limits and conditions.

Safety assessment

Comprehensive and systematic safety assessment is an essential part of the licensing process and license renewal. As a condition for a license, both deterministic and probabilistic safety assessments (PSA) need to be carried out and submitted to STUK for approval. Both assessments are kept up to date throughout the operation of the nuclear facility, reflecting the advancement of science and technology. Any changes to these documents are submitted to STUK for approval. These requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting.

Since the First Review Meeting, the PSAs have been updated, and their scope has been extended at both nuclear power plants. Plant-specific living PSAs, including internal initiators, fires, flooding, harsh weather conditions, seismic events for operation mode, and internal events for low power mode, have been completed for the plants. These PSA studies are used in support of decision making by the regulatory body and of safety management at the utilities. The risk-informed regulatory scope at STUK is progressing towards Risk Informed In-service Inspection/In-Service Testing, and Risk Informed Technical Specifications activities. A related study has recently been completed by STUK.

Special attention has been paid to seismic events in Finland, although Finland is not in a seismically active area. Training on seismic events (earthquakes, their origin, measurements) in Finland was organised at STUK to increase awareness and consideration of seismic risks at nuclear facilities. The training included the presentation of seismic PSAs for Finnish nuclear power plants and the presentation of a report on seismic hazards in the southern territory of Finland. According to the PSA results, seismic events do not cause major risks in Finland. However, some modifications have been made at Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, where for example the support structures of batteries and switchgear cubicles have been improved. There has been no need to implement any specific measures regarding seismic events at Loviisa nuclear power plant. STUK is also reassessing the regulatory requirements related to seismic events given in Guide YVL 2.6, Provision against earthquakes affecting nuclear facilities, that is currently under revision.

The year 2000 problem at Finnish nuclear power plants and at regulatory body was carefully evaluated before the millennium. Both utilities and STUK created programmes to cope with the problem. These included e.g. updating of some computer programmes both at nuclear power plants and at STUK. Utility programmes were closely followed by STUK. During the millennium, no problems were identified at Finnish power nuclear plants.

Design and documentation of plant modifications

Special attention has been paid to plant modification processes and documentation at Finnish nuclear power plants. Requirements concerning modifications designed by the utility and their independent assessment have been reassessed and included into appropriate YVL Guides that are now being updated. The new requirements mean in practice that all safety significant plant modifications have to be assessed by a unit which is independent of the design and implementation of the modification. The results of these assessments have to be included in the documentation submitted to the regulator.

STUK has also paid attention to the documentation of plant modifications and has established an own plant modification database, including the whole operating history of the Finnish plants. Based on this database, STUK produces reports on ongoing plant modifications biannually. These reports include all safety significant plant modifications and other important modifications. The purpose of this report is to inform STUK's personnel of the cause of each modification, technical implementation, implementation stage, assessment of safety significance and documentation submitted to the regulatory body and possible remarks related to the modification project.

Verification of safety

Several requirements concerning the verification of the physical state of a nuclear power plant are given in the Decision of the Council of State (395/1991). More detailed requirements are given in YVL Guides. These basic requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting.

As written in the first report, the qualification of non-destructive testing (NDT) systems and procedures requires a high priority in Finland. The implementation of qualified NDT systems has been started in Finland. STUK has decided that the consensus document "Common position of European Regulators on qualification of NDT-systems for pre- and in-service inspection of lightwater reactor components, EUR 16802 EN is to be followed in Finland. ENIQ documents (European Network for Inspection Qualification) can also be followed. The application of the documents is still under discussion. A national strategy document for NDT qualification has been written. The most important issue is that the qualification body shall be competent and independent. Ad hoc type qualification bodies have been established by the Steering Committee of NDT Qualifications. However, this has not been an easy task due to the shortage of independent and competent personnel in Finland. The work carried out by the Finnish utilities is described in more detail in Annex III.

Article 15. Radiation protection

Each contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that in all operational states the radiation exposure to the workers and the public caused by a nuclear installation shall be kept as low as reasonably achievable and that no individual shall be exposed to radiation doses which exceed prescribed national dose limits.

Basic requirements for the safe use of nuclear energy are given in the Nuclear Energy Act. The ALARA principle is included in the Radiation Act. These basic requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting. As a consequence of the implementation of the new European Basic Safety Standard Directive, medical surveillance of the employees of the nuclear power plants has been performed since 1999 according to a practice based on the new Directive. Otherwise the implementation of the Basic Safety Standard Directive concerned mainly radiation safety regulations in Finland, and caused no major changes to YVL Guides.

Environmental radiation safety

Fuel rods at the Olkiluoto and Loviisa nuclear power plants have had low failure rates (from 0 to 2 leakages during one annual operational period of the reactors between 1998-2001). The plant operators have also paid special attention to water chemistry conditions and the proper selection of materials, when changing primary circuit equipment and components. The activity levels in the primary circuit water have been reasonably low.

Both nuclear power plants have implemented special measures to reduce the releases of radioactive matter into the environment. The Loviisa nuclear power plant has operated a system for efficient Cs removal from liquid waste tanks, where liquid waste is collected before release into the environment. Olkiluoto nuclear power plant has implemented new purification measures and storage tanks which aim to increase water recirculation in the plant processes, thus reducing the liquid waste effluents from the plant.

Sections 7 to 12 of the Decision of the Council of State (395/1991) include regulations for limiting the radiation exposure of the general public and the releases of radioactive materials into the environment. Radioactive releases into the environment of the Finnish nuclear power plants have been well below authorised limits (for important nuclides and pathways, of the order of 0.01 to 1% of set values based on the requirements of Guides YVL 7.2, YVL 7.3 and YVL 7.6). The limit for the dose commitment of an individual of the population, arising from the normal operation of a nuclear power plant in any period of one year, is 0.1 mSv (395/1991, section 9). Calculated radiation exposures to the critical groups in the environment of the nuclear power plants are shown in Figure 3.

Year 2000, OL: 0,08 µSv/a, Lo: 0,06 µSv/a

Figure 3. Calculated annual radiation exposures to the members of critical groups in the environment of the Finnish nuclear power plants.


Environmental radiation monitoring in the vicinity of nuclear power plants has been comprehensive and has been implemented according to the requirements of Guide YVL 7.7. The experience from the surveillance will be taken into account when the nuclear power utilities propose a new monitoring programme for approval to be implemented 2003-2007.

Radiation protection of workers

According to Guide YVL 7.9, the collective radiation dose to the personnel should not exceed the value 2.5 manSv per 1 GW of net electrical capacity averaged over two successive years at one plant unit. If the value is exceeded, the cause of the excessive dose and the measures which may be required to improve radiation protection are to be reported to STUK. The two year average of collective radiation doses to Finnish nuclear power plant workers since 1978 is shown in Figure 4. Guide YVL 7.9 has been in force since 1993 and some limit exceeding have occurred as can be seen in the figure. According to Section 3 of the Radiation Decree (1512/1991), the effective dose caused by radiation work to a worker must not exceed 20 millisieverts (mSv) per year as an average over five years, or 50 mSv in any single year. Individual annual worker doses have been below 20 mSv (see Figure 5 for the years 1998-2000) and the maximum dose to a Finnish nuclear power plant worker in the five year period of 1996-2000 was 93.2 mSv.

Year 2000, Lo1: 2,59 manSv/GWe, Lo2: 1,12 manSv/GWh, Ol1: 0,87 manSv/GWe, OL2: 0,71 manSv/GWh

Figure 4. Two year average of collective radiation doses at Finnish nuclear power plant units.


Year 200: 20-25 mSv: 0, 15-20 mSv: 14, 10-15 mSv: 44, 5-10 mSv: 162, < 5 mSv: 1712

Figure 5. Distribution of individual annual worker doses.


As specified in the operating strategy of each plant, there has been an extensive annual maintenance outage every second year at each plant unit. These outages have resulted in doses somewhat higher than have shorter outages in between, as can be seen in Figure 4. For example in 1998, large modernisation and power uprating projects were finalised at both nuclear power plants. Olkiluoto and Loviisa nuclear power plants have agreed on the implementation of plant-specific ALARA programmes.

In addition, Loviisa nuclear power plant has a project for the renewal of the installed radiation monitoring systems (area monitors, air monitors, process monitors and effluent monitors) at the plant during 2001-2002.

Article 16. Emergency preparedness

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that there are on-site and off-site emergency plans that are routinely tested for nuclear installations and cover the activities to be carried out in the event of an emergency. For any new nuclear installation, such plans shall be prepared and tested before it commences operation above a low power level agreed by the regulatory body.

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that, insofar as they are likely to be affected by a radiological emergency, its own population and the competent authorities of the States in the vicinity of the nuclear installation are provided with appropriate information for emergency planning and response.

Contracting Parties which do not have a nuclear installation on their territory, insofar as they are likely to be affected in the event of a radiological emergency at a nuclear installation in the vicinity, shall take the appropriate steps for the preparation and testing of emergency plans for their territory that cover the activities to be carried out in the event of such an emergency.

The basic regulations for on-site emergency planning are given in the Nuclear Energy Act and in the Decision of the Council of State (397/1991). Off-site emergency plans required by the Rescue legislation (561/1999) are prepared by the local authorities. These basic requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting. However, emergency response procedures at Olkiluoto and Loviisa nuclear power plants have been further developed based on the requirements of Guide YVL 7.4. These procedures have been regularly tested in annual emergency exercises that are part of the plants' emergency preparedness training. STUK has approved changes to the emergency plans of nuclear power plants, and carries out an inspection every year to assess the emergency preparedness regime, including emergency training and exercises.

In addition to the domestic nuclear emergency exercises held annually on each nuclear power plant site, STUK has taken part e.g. in international emergency exercises such as INEX 2/Canada in 1999 and INEX 2000/France in 2001. STUK has also participated as a co-player in emergency exercises arranged by the Swedish nuclear power plants and authorities. In September 2000, a national emergency and rescue exercise of the entire Government organisation was carried out in Finland. Part of the exercise scenario was based on a Loviisa nuclear power plant accident scenario and exercise.

As regards emergency preparedness, special attention has been paid by both Finnish nuclear power plants to the classification of emergencies (an emergency-stand-by situation), accident management and the development of the emergency instructions of on-site emergency centres and supporting expert groups, the use of real-time dosimeters by emergency workers on site, and implementation of automatic alerting of plant personnel during emergency situations. Also updated guidelines and information related to emergency situations have been distributed to the public living in the vicinity of the nuclear power plants.

STUK has developed and implemented a new information system (USVA) for the automatic radiation monitoring network in Finland in 1999. In addition, the development of a new transportation and dose calculation model (VALMA) for STUK is underway in Finland.

Article 17. Siting

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that appropriate procedures are established and implemented:

  • for evaluating all relevant site-related factors likely to affect the safety of a nuclear installation for its projected lifetime;
  • for evaluating the likely safety impact of a proposed nuclear installation on individuals, society and the environment;
  • for re-evaluating as necessary all relevant factors referred to in sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) so as to ensure the continued safety acceptability of the nuclear installation;
  • for consulting Contracting Parties in the vicinity of a proposed nuclear installation, insofar as they are likely to be affected by that installation and, upon request providing the necessary information to such Contracting Parties, in order to enable them to evaluate and make their own assessment of the likely safety impact on their own territory of the nuclear installation.

Requirements for the siting of a nuclear power plant and for an environmental impact assessment are provided in the Nuclear Energy Decree. These requirements were presented in detail in the first review report and they have not changed after the First Review Meeting. In 2000, STUK issued a new Guide YVL 1.10, Safety criteria for siting a nuclear power plant. It describes generally all requirements concerning the site and surroundings of a nuclear power plant, gives requirements on safety factors affecting site selection as well as covers regulatory control during all licensing phases (Decision in Principle, Construction license, Operating license).

STUK issued to the Ministry of Trade and Industry statements on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports of the planned 'Loviisa 3 nuclear power plant project' and 'Olkiluoto nuclear power plant extension project' in 1999. STUK assessed the reports from a radiation and nuclear safety point of view. The following issues, among others, were assessed: how the applicants fulfil current radiation safety requirements, releases of radioactive matters during normal operation and during a severe accident situation. STUK also assessed the estimated environmental impacts of fuel procurement and nuclear waste management. Based on the Espoo-treaty (Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, Espoo 1991), Finland also received statements on the EIA from neighbouring countries (Estonia, Sweden and Russia; although Russia has not ratified the Espoo-treaty it was given a possibility to give its statement on the EIA).

In the statements, no factors emerged concerning environmental radiation safety that would prevent the construction of a new reactor on the existing sites of Olkiluoto or Loviisa nuclear power plants. Each site is very remote to population and there are no large industrial facilities or transport routes near the sites. The most significant environmental impacts of a possible new reactor would arise from cooling water discharges increasing the temperature of sea water in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant.

STUK has made a safety assessment in early 2001 of the fifth reactor unit, based on the application by Teollisuuden Voima Oy for a Decision in Principle. In this assessment a review of the proposed siting of the new reactor, alternatively to Olkiluoto or Loviisa, was done. Both sites were considered to be appropriate for a new reactor of the proposed size of 1000-1600 MW electric power. A statement in favour of the new nuclear power plant was given also by each candidate site municipality. In addition, based on the Treaty (on guidelines for communication in case of near border siting of nuclear facilities, 1977) between the Nordic Countries, also Sweden gave its favourable statement on the application for a Decision in Principle.

Article 18. Design and construction

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that:

  • the design and construction of a nuclear installation provides for several reliable levels and methods of protection (defense in depth) against the release of radioactive materials, with a view to preventing the occurrence of accidents and to mitigating their radiological consequences should they occur;
  • the technologies incorporated in the design and construction of a nuclear installation are proven by experience or qualified by testing or analysis;
  • the design of a nuclear installation allows for reliable, stable and easily manageable operation, with specific consideration of human factors and the man-machine interface.

Defense in depth

According to the Decision of the Council of State (395/1991), several levels of protection have to be provided in the design of a nuclear power plant. The design of the nuclear facility and the technology used is assessed by STUK when reviewing the application for a Decision in Principle, Construction License and Operating License. Design is reassessed against the advancement of science and technology, when the Operating License is renewed. Requirements related to the defence in depth and its application were presented in detail in the first review report. These have not changed after the First Review Meeting. However, as it was written in the first report, severe accidents still need further attention in Finland. Improvements have been implemented to enhance the safety of the plants and to mitigate the consequences of severe accidents. Some of the work is going on and is described in more detail in Annexes II and III.

Proven technology

The requirement to use proven or otherwise qualified technology is stated in the Decision of the Council of State (395/1991). Detailed requirements are provided in several YVL Guides. Digital instrumentation and control technology has already been implemented in some modernised systems. The development of detailed safety requirements and procedures to ensure adequate reliability of such systems is still underway.

Reliable, stable and easily manageable operation

Requirements for control rooms, equipment and automation and the avoidance, detection and correction of human errors are provided in the Decision of the Council of State (395/1991). These requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting. Both plants are planning to modernise their control rooms. At the Loviisa nuclear power plant this is included into a large automation modernisation project. At the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant changes in the control room are made gradually.

Article 19. Operation

Each Contracting Party shall take the appropriate steps to ensure that:

  • the initial authorisation to operate a nuclear installation is based upon an appropriate safety analysis and a commissioning programme demonstrating that the installation, as constructed, is consistent with design and safety requirements;
  • operational limits and conditions derived from the safety analysis, tests and operational experience are defined and revised as necessary for identifying safe boundaries for operation;
  • operation, maintenance, inspection and testing of a nuclear installation are conducted in accordance with approved procedures;
  • procedures are established for responding to anticipated operational occurrences and to accidents;
  • necessary engineering and technical support in all safety-related fields is available throughout the lifetime of a nuclear installation;
  • incidents significant to safety are reported in a timely manner by the holder of the relevant licence to the regulatory body;
  • programmes to collect and analyse operating experience are established, the results obtained and the conclusions drawn are acted upon and that existing mechanisms are used to share important experience with international bodies and with other operating organisations and regulatory bodies;
  • the generation of radioactive waste resulting from the operation of a nuclear installation is kept to the minimum practicable for the process concerned, both in activity and in volume, and any necessary treatment and storage of spent fuel and waste directly related to the operation and on the same site as that of the nuclear installation take into consideration conditioning and disposal.

Requirements presented in the Finnish legislation related to operation were presented in detail in the first report. These requirements have not changed after the First Review Meeting. However, some further progress has been made in the following areas.

Anticipated operational occurrences and accidents

As part of its severe accident management project, Loviisa nuclear power plant is developing new symptom based emergency operating procedures. The new procedures will be taken into operation in 2005.

Engineering and technical support

Some concern was related to the adequacy of engineering and technical support available to Teollisuuden Voima Oy when its Operating License was renewed in 1998. This was due to the fact that, recently, Teollisuuden Voima Oy has quite independently designed and implemented some safety modifications at the plant, and the tendency is expected to continue. This issue was raised again in a preliminary safety assessment by STUK related to the Decision in Principle for the fifth reactor in Finland. It was stated that if the Decision in Principle is approved by the Parliament, Teollisuuden Voima Oy should in a very early phase start to develop its organisation and expertise to ensure the safety of the plant in case there is no comprehensive design service available in the market.

There has also been some concern about how to sustain the expertise of nuclear safety personnel in a deregulated environment. This concern has especially touched Fortum Engineering that has recently exposed to divestment. However, a new company, Fortum Nuclear Services Ltd, has been founded and nuclear safety engineering has been transferred to this company so that the possible divestment of Fortum Engineering will not reduce the nuclear safety expertise of the company.

Incident reports

STUK is updating reporting requirements to meet today's challenges taking into account for example energy market deregulation. However, no major changes are foreseen in the requirements.

Incident evaluation and international co-operation

Special attention was paid to incident evaluation methods and operating experience in Finland in 1999. A study was conducted by the Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT, to evaluate operating experience feedback systems and incident evaluation methods in the Finnish nuclear industry. Several development areas were identified to enhance incident evaluation and to close the operating experience loop in order to avoid recurrence of events. Implementation of these measures is under way.

Both plants co-operate with WANO and countries having similar reactor types. This co-operation is more closely described in Annexes II and III. STUK has also participated in co-operation between international organisations such as the IAEA, the OECD/NEA and the EU, who exchange information on safety issues and operating events. Other forums that STUK uses to obtain information are WENRA, the VVER Forum and the NERS Forum as well as some bilateral agreements. A special exchange of information between Gosatomnadzor and STUK on the operation of the Kola and Leningrad nuclear power plants and of Finnish nuclear power plants has taken place quarterly.

Radioactive wastes

Interim storage facilities for spent fuel are available at the Loviisa and Olkiluoto sites. Both are wet-type storages. At both sites, additional storage capacity needs to be constructed by early 2010. Research, development and planning work for spent fuel disposal is in progress and the disposal facility is envisaged to be operational in early 2020. In spring 2001, the Parliament approved a Decision in Principle on the final disposal of spent fuel at the Olkiluoto site.

At the Loviisa site a solidification facility for low and medium level waste will be commissioned in the year 2004.

At both nuclear power plant sites, rock cavern facilities for the ultimate disposal of low and medium level waste are in operation.

2.2 Concluding summary on the fulfilment of the obligations

The changes made and the ongoing or planned development under the areas of the Articles 4 and 6 to 19 of the Convention are reported above. Based on the evaluation, it can be concluded that Finnish regulations and practices continue to be in compliance with the obligations of the Convention, and further progress is underway.

Safety improvements have been annually implemented at Loviisa and Olkiluoto plants since their commissioning. There exists no urgent need for additional improvements to upgrade the safety of these plants in the context of the Convention. However, there are issues requiring further measures to enhance safety. The main issues are discussed in Chapter 3.


3 PLANNED ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE SAFETY

The Finnish regulatory control system includes both periodic safety review and continuous safety review processes. Actions for safety enhancement are to be taken whenever they can be regarded as justified, considering operating experience, the results of safety research and the advancement of science and technology. In the following some specific issues and challenges for future work in Finland are presented.

Safety and organisational culture

An understanding of organisational issues and safety culture will be strengthened in Finland. STUK has both developed its own culture and made initiatives to assess and develop the culture of the utilities. These assessments are under planning at the moment and, based on the results of the studies, attention will be paid on the implementation and improvement of safety culture at utility organisations. Studies will also strengthen STUK's and the utilities' competence to assess organisational issues and personnel behaviour.

Changing environment

Deregulation of the electricity markets took place in steps since the new Act on Electrical Power Markets came into force in Finland in 1995. From 1998 on, free competition has existed in all sectors of the market, except transmission in the national grid and local distribution of power. During the past five years, many changes have taken place in the ownership of the utilities, including some changes in the ownership of the nuclear power plants, in Finland. So far, no negative impacts have been seen to the nuclear safety. However, due to competition some savings are in sight in the maintenance costs for example in the use of contractors and possibly by risk informed and optimised approach to maintenance. Possible negative impacts to nuclear safety need to be carefully observed by the regulator.

Human resources in the nuclear field

Based on the evaluation of human resources in Finland in the nuclear field, there is a narrow resource basis in some fields of core competencies such as reactor physics and dynamics, fires, human and organisational factors and programmable automation. Further measures are required in these areas during the next 5 to 10 years in order to avoid loosing competence. In practice it means educating and hiring new people on these areas.

Qualification of non-destructive testing

The reliability of NDT systems taking into account also the small amount of independent and competent personnel resources requires special attention in Finland. International activities and co-operation will be closely followed.

Reliability of digital automation

Detailed safety requirements and procedures to ensure adequate reliability of digital instrumentation and control systems need to be defined in Finland. International activities and co-operation in this area will be closely followed in Finland.

Operating experience feedback

There is still room for enhancement of operating experience feedback activities in order to avoid recurrence of operating events. Implementation of recommendations based on the research carried out on operating experience activities in the Finnish nuclear industry is most essential.

Provision for plant ageing

Ageing issues in Finnish nuclear power plants have already been addressed. However, recent operating experience has shown that this area requires further attention. It is also recognised that ageing effects will reveal technical challenges in the future for which there need to be expertise available to cope with potential problems. The issue of ageing has also been included into the national Finnish research programme on nuclear power plant safety (FINNUS).


4 CONCLUSIONS ON BENEFITS FROM THE FIRST REVIEW MEETING

The Convention on Nuclear Safety is the first legally binding international instrument for nuclear safety in countries that have ratified it. The content of the Convention is consistent and covers well the safety concerns connected to the use of nuclear energy. The Convention calls for regular reporting on how its various articles have been implemented in the participating countries and communities.

In Finland the Convention was cordially welcomed, and Finland was also among the first signatories of it. Based on the experience gained during and after the First Review Meeting in 1999, it can be said that this international legal instrument can be--and it is foreseen to be case also in future--a very powerful tool for enhancing the safety of the nuclear community.

In Finland the Convention and the review mechanism included in it are considered fruitful i.a. for the following reasons:

  • The preparation of the national reports requires a certain amount of self-evaluation. Some shortages and development needs of the own regulatory framework are fixed and managed before reporting the situation to the international community.
  • The preparation of the review report--if prepared in co-operation with national regulators, the nuclear industry and licensees, and the technical support organisations--contributes to the establishment of a common national understanding on prioritising the important safety issues.
  • The reports, as such, form a comprehensive database of nuclear programmes not only in the own country but also in the sense of providing information on other countries' frameworks and programmes. Many Contracting Parties have made their reports available through the Internet, but also others could be encouraged to do the same. In this also the IAEA could provide assistance as needed.
  • The publication of reports provides for transparency, which is in today's world one of the basic requirements for gaining general acceptability for using nuclear power. Furthermore, the openness in reporting can be considered to be one expression of a well-developed safety culture.
  • Confidentiality of discussions during the review meetings is essential for providing an effective and direct atmosphere for the experts to change views on the prioritisation of safety issues and regulatory policies. Also the way of public reporting of the results of review meetings without making comparisons between contracting parties and without pointing out any countries together with some country-specific needs to enhance the safety level of their nuclear facilities is a necessity for an effective review process.

In the Introduction, the recommendations of the First Review Meeting to Finland are listed. These items are discussed in this report. In addition, taking into account the discussions and observations in the First Review Meeting, the following list of items requiring further actions was prepared. The list was also published on the Internet after the First Review Meeting.

  • Reassessment of the requirements for modifications planned by the power company and their independent verification (see Article 14).
  • Reassessment of the procedures and requirements for the submission of documents to authorities for approval and information (see Article 7).
  • Assessment of the degree of detail and control of the regulatory guides and other regulations (see Annex I).
  • Incorporation of safety culture related know-how into a uniform national programme (see Annex IV).
  • Development of the methods for evaluating the appropriateness and functionality of the oversight of licensee organisations and strengthening the control and resources in this sector (see Articles 8 and 12).
  • Enhancement of the plant modification database with adequate technical data (see Article 14).
  • Training to increase awareness and consideration of seismic risks at the nuclear facilities and updating of the requirements related to the control (see Article 14).
  • Development and maintenance of STUK's Quality System and benchmarking with other regulators (see Article 13)
  • Evaluation of the independence of the technical support to STUK (see Article 8).

These item are also discussed in this report under Articles 6-19 and Annexes, as indicated in brackets.

As a conclusion, in Finland the First Review Meeting was considered very fruitful and it is believed that the second review meeting will also follow the same lines.

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