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STUK supervises

STUK sets safety requirements

STUK is tasked with establishing detailed safety requirements with regard to the use of nuclear energy and ensuring, by way of independent oversight, that power companies producing energy operate in accordance with the requirements.

An important milestone was reached in the field of Finnish nuclear safety regulation when the new regulatory guides on nuclear safety (YVL Guides) compiled by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland (STUK) came into effect on 1 December 2013. The new regulations are stricter than the old ones and will improve the safety of nuclear facilities in Finland. The new Guides shall apply as they stand to all new nuclear facilities. Later, it will be decided how the new requirements are to be applied to existing facilities and those now under construction.

The YVL Guides cover all matters and functions with a bearing on the safety of nuclear facilities: design, operation, environmental safety, nuclear material and waste, structures and equipment. The Finnish safety requirements, which are up to date and, from an international standpoint, relatively strict, ensure a high level of safety.

The guidelines were renewed in respect of the lessons learnt from Olkiluoto 3 and Fukushima.

The main objectives of the YVL Guide revision project were to simplify the structure of the body of nuclear safety rules, harmonise the Guides and apply the lessons of the Olkiluoto 3 project. In addition, the lessons learnt from the Fukushima accident as well as the objectives set for new facilities by the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) were taken into account in the project.

One of the lessons of the Fukushima accident is that nuclear facilities will be required to withstand more severe natural phenomena and power failures.

The new Guides also emphasise that the applicant’s plans have to be at an advanced stage and of high enough quality when the construction licence for the nuclear facility is applied for. This change has been brought about primarily by lessons learnt from the Olkiluoto 3 construction project. The new Guides also describe in greater detail than before how STUK is to regulate the safety of the nuclear facilities during the different stages of design, construction and operation.

Special attention is paid to the requirement that, even in the case of a failure, the safety systems of a nuclear power plant must not interfere with each other. Furthermore, requirements on management systems have been revised, and a new Guide on information security has been issued.