Technical Meeting on the Establishment of the International Regulatory Knowledge Network

24-28 November 2008
Vienna, Austria



The Global Safety Regime is the framework for achieving the worldwide implementation of a high level of nuclear, radiation, transport and radioactive waste safety (hereafter referred to as safety) at nuclear installations. Its core is the activities undertaken by each country to ensure the safety of the facilities and practices within its jurisdiction. But national efforts are and should be augmented by the activities of a variety of international enterprises that facilitate safety: intergovernmental organizations, multinational networks among operators, multinational networks among regulators, the international nuclear industry, multinational networks among scientists, international standards setting organizations and other stakeholders such as the public, news media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are engaged in nuclear safety. All of these efforts should be harnessed to enhance the achievement of safety.

With regard to a Global Nuclear Security* Framework, state-assumed obligations rest on binding and non-binding nuclear security international instruments and obligations derived from relevant Treaties and Conventions, as well as UN Security Council resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of UN Charts. Universal adherence to and implementation of these international instruments, the harmonization of national legal and regulatory frameworks and the effective application of relevant measures through the involvement of different stakeholders, together comprise a major contribution to strengthening each country’s security regime. Networks at national, regional and international levels among regulators, operators, law enforcement organizations, intelligence communities, in activities not only related to prevention but also detection and response to malicious acts involving nuclear and radioactive material, taking into account the confidentiality requirements, are tools to enhance the Global Nuclear Security Framework worldwide.

A legal, well established, effectively independent, technically competent and efficient regulatory body is considered essential for safety and for a major portion of security. The IAEA Member States strive to achieve, maintain and improve stable and effective regulatory regimes in order to guarantee a high level of safety and security for all facilities and practices under their national responsibility.
Networking is becoming recognized by Member States as a very effective instrument for enhancing the sharing of knowledge and experience essential to the prevention of accidents and malicious acts, and to the implementation of appropriate safety and security measures. Networking is also becoming recognized as an important tool for facilitating the transition from dependence to self-sufficiency and sustainability. It will be a challenge to reach a compromise between the openness and transparency from safety point of view and the protection of sensitive nuclear security information from disclosure
Senior regulators in the member states have recognized the need and the value of establishing a network for exchanging regulatory experience and practices. This was emphasized during recent regulatory conference and workshops, in particular during the IRRS workshop in France in 2007.

International networks among some regulators already exist, such as the Radiation Safety Regulatory Network (RaSaReN), the International Nuclear Regulators Association (INRA); Network of Regulators of Countries with Small Nuclear Programmers (NERS); Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA); Forum of the State Nuclear Safety Authorities of the Countries Operating WWER Type Reactors; CANDU Senior Regulators and European Nuclear Security Regulators Association (ENSRA). The existing networks provide valuable information and tools that have contributed significantly to enhanced cooperation in nuclear safety matters today, but their efficiency and effectiveness for international cooperation in assuring and improving safety could be enhanced by pursuing some additional concerted efforts related to their contents.

Experience shows that some of these networks are not fully meeting their intended objectives and that their outreach is limited. Developments in information technology make it now possible to create effective network knowledge centres that can be accessed and shared by people worldwide.

Under IAEA 2002 Plan of Activities to Protect Against Nuclear Terrorism, and under the Nuclear Security Plan 2006-2009, the Secretariat recommends to support the exchange of information, in keeping with confidentiality requirements and to support the establishment of security knowledge management networks. This will assist States in meeting the obligations they have assumed under the international instruments related to security. Findings of relevant international symposia and conferences, as well as specific security needs identified by Member States, form a platform for conducting this work. A good example is the IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database (ITDB) which is a network system established in 1995 to facilitate exchange of authoritative information related to illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and other radioactive material. Currently a Nuclear Security Information Portal is under development
The IAEA has facilitated the development of a variety of knowledge networks among which two could serve as good examples both for regional networking and for the further development of the International Regulatory Network within the sphere of Global Safety Network. These are the Asian Nuclear Safety Network (ANSN) and the Ibero-American Radiation Safety Network. Other regions, such as Africa and East Asia and the Pacific (RCA) also expressed their interest in establishing regulators network to promote pooling, analyzing and sharing safety knowledge and experiences at national, regional and international levels.

As the worldwide centre of cooperation in the nuclear and radiation field, the IAEA works with States, international organizations and other partners to promote the use of safe and secure nuclear applications for peaceful purposes. For this reason, the IAEA is ideally positioned to facilitate and support the establishment of information networks aimed at enhancing regulatory bodies" activities and regulations regarding safety and security. A formal tool enabling work toward this end would enable States" to share information pertaining to regulatory issues and control issues relevant to prevention, detection and response to malicious acts. The IAEA will continue to support the development of focused networks with the goal of improving cooperation, fostering an integrated safety and security approach and promoting continuous improvement and coordination for establishing platforms and networks as tools for exchanging information.

*Nuclear Security means: “Prevention and detection of, and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or their associated facilities.” It will be referred to hereafter as security.