- European Union
The first co-operation project between the EU and the Iran Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA), launched in April 2017, has come to a successful completion. The overall aim of this project was to initiate and, to the extent practicable, implement the activities as defined in the Annex III of the JCPOA. In essence, the aim is to enhance the regulatory oversight for nuclear safety and increase safety and protection of population and environment in Iran. The project was awarded to a European Consortium led by the company ENCO together with the Nuclear Regulatory Bodies of Slovenia, Hungary, Czechia, and the Slovak Republic.
Among the project’s major achievements was the development, together with INRA, of a feasibility study assessing in detail the technical and administrative requirements for the set-up of a modern and state-of-the-art Nuclear Safety Centre (NSC), compatible with the provisions foreseen in the JCPOA, supporting and facilitating technical and professional training and exchange of lessons learned for reactor and facility operators, regulatory authority personnel and related support organisations. The feasibility study was formally presented in Vienna in July 2018.
Another important area of co-operation was the support to INRA in developing requirements and assessing the safety evaluation performed by the Bushehr-1 Nuclear Power Plant in compliance with the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) stress test specification, to enable the establishment of the regulatory requirements for safety improvements, if so determined.
The project has also employed the best EU nuclear regulatory experience and know-how, in compliance with IAEA standards and guides, to review and improve the regulatory documents and to enhance INRA’s technical capabilities to review the deterministic and probabilistic safety analysis. Within this, important parts of the Bushehr-2 Safety Analysis Report and Probabilistic Safety Analysis have been reviewed jointly by EU and INRA experts.
Other areas of co-operation included the enhancement of the nuclear and radiation safety regulatory framework, the provision of training and tutoring to the INRA staff, and contributions to the Nuclear Safety School organized by the Reactor and Nuclear Safety Research Institute.
While this project is closing, the EU co-operation with Iran in the area of civil nuclear safety continues. Two other projects launched in 2018 and 2020 will continue to provide support to INRA in designing and equipping their emergency preparedness and response centre, extending and modernising Iran’s environmental radiation monitoring network, enhancing the regulatory oversight of nuclear installations, supporting the operator of radioactive waste management facilities in assessing the safety of predisposal and disposal of radioactive waste and developing a national strategy, among others.
In line with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was endorsed by UN Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), the EU and Iran have established cooperation in the civil nuclear field, in particular in the area of nuclear safety and regulatory support. Annex III of the JCPOA on civil nuclear cooperation forms an integral part of the implementation of the JCPOA. Development of civil nuclear co-operation makes the deal more durable by building confidence and increasing transparency through involvement of international actors. The EU remains committed to the implementation of the JCPOA, EU-IR civil nuclear cooperation in line with JCPOA Annex III, and to promoting nuclear safety worldwide, as this is a matter of security for Europe, the region, and the world.
About the INSC
After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, the European Union launched the Nuclear Safety Programme within the framework of technical assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States, which, between 1991 and 2006, allocated about 1.2 billion Euros to nuclear safety and security projects. From 2007 to 2013, the European Union extended its support in the field of nuclear safety to third countries under the Nuclear Safety Cooperation Instrument, with a total budget of €524 million. In June 2014, a strategy for the implementation of the second phase of the Nuclear Safety Cooperation Instrument (2014 to 2020) was agreed, with an additional €325 million allocated to nuclear safety projects. Then, in May 2021, a new program of €300 million was approved for the period between 2021 and 2027.