On 25-29 September 2017, the meeting of WENRA (Western European Nuclear Regulators Association) Working Group on Waste and Decommissioning is being held for the first time in Ukraine.
Within the event, on 25 September, WENRA delegation visited the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, namely dry spent fuel storage facility (SFSF-2), liquid radioactive waste treatment plant and industrial complex for solid radioactive waste management. Representatives of the Association also visited the observation site of Shelter New Safe Confinement.
On 26 September, an official opening of the Working Group meeting was held in the Park Hotel Holosiievo conference hall. Borys Stoliarchuk, Acting Chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, welcomed the participants.
Ukrainian regulatory authority gained full membership in WENRA in 2015. This year, for the first time Ukraine hosts WENRA delegation to conduct Working Group meeting”, SNRIU Chairman stated.
Currently, SNRIU scope covers safety regulation of significant number of facilities in Ukraine. Among them: 15 operating power units at four nuclear power plants; two operating spent fuel storage facilities at Zaporizhzhya and Chornobyl NPPs; research reactor; six specialized enterprises for radioactive waste management in various regions of Ukraine; radwaste temporary confinement points and storage facilities in the Exclusion Zone; uranium mining and processing facilities; significant number of radiation sources in medical, scientific and other institutions. “I want to single out Chornobyl NPP, which at the time is the only one in Ukraine at the decommissioning stage. Currently, final closure stage is underway”, Borys Stoliarchuk said.
The New Safe Confinement of the Shelter, dry spent fuel storage facility and plants for liquid and solid radioactive waste treatment on ChNPP site are at the final stage of construction.
Regarding immediate plans for radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management, a decision was made and it is envisaged to construct new facilities in the Exclusion Zone: centralized spent fuel storage facility (centralized SFSF) and storage facility for vitrified high-level radioactive waste after spent nuclear fuel processing.
Hot tests are underway at the centralized storage facility for spent radiation sources.
Facilities for processing of radioactive waste accumulated in NPP operation are being implemented at operating nuclear power plants of Ukraine.
“The Inspectorate develops legislative and regulatory documents on radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management considering provisions and recommendations of IAEA, WENRA and European Union.
We pay much attention to the international cooperation of European regulatory authorities aimed at harmonization of regulatory requirements for NPP safety, safe management of spent nuclear fuel, radioactive waste and decommissioning”, SNRIU Chairman commented.
According to Borys Stoliarchuk, SNRIU representatives actively participate in WENRA Working Group on Waste and Decommissioning and Reactor Harmonization Working Group. A special board was arranged in the SNRIU within the harmonization of national regulatory requirements with WENRA reference levels.
“We joined WENRA when most WENRA member countries have already completed self-assessment of their regulatory requirements and have implemented or identified national action plans to harmonize these requirements. We are working hard to complete our self-assessment and harmonize national requirements. We have already conducted self-assessment on decommissioning issues. Based on its results and considering WENRA recommendations, we started the development of two regulatory documents”, Borys Stoliarchuk assured.
The next step will cover self-assessment on the storage of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, and then on radioactive waste disposal, which will be followed by radioactive waste processing issues.
“Of course, this requires a lot of efforts and time, but I hope we will succeed in this. According to present challenges, active participation of Ukraine in new Association initiatives and further steps on the harmonization of national requirements for nuclear and radiation safety with WENRA reference levels will allow us to approach to European standards on nuclear and radiation safety regulation and to continue developing of common approaches to resolving main issues related to safety improvement of operating NPPs”, SNRIU Chairman concluded.
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