Pursuant to Articles 19-20 of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and Articles 7-8 of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, Ukraine has undertaken to:

  • establish and maintain a regulatory and legislative framework to ensure the safety of nuclear energy, providing for: appropriate national safety requirements and regulations; a system of licensing with regard to nuclear energy use; prohibition of nuclear energy use without a license; a system of appropriate institutional and regulatory control and documentation and reporting; enforcement of applicable regulations and license terms; clear separation between the functions of bodies involved in different stages of spent fuel and radioactive waste management;
  • establish and designate a regulatory body entrusted with the implementation of the legislative and regulatory framework and provided with adequate authority, competence, and financial and human resources to fulfill its assigned responsibilities;
  • take all appropriate steps to ensure effective separation between the regulatory and other functions.

Therefore, the nuclear regulation system provides for the following main constituents:

  • legislative framework which regulates activities on nuclear energy use;
  • infrastructure of the state regulation of safe use of nuclear energy.

LEGISLATION BASE IN THE FIELD OF NUCLEAR ENERGY USEMENT

Ukraine gained its independence in 1991 and thus acquired a powerful arsenal of nuclear weapons and five nuclear power plants operating 14 units. From the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a large number of organizations and industrial enterprises that used radiation sources, enterprises that employed radioisotope devices, and several radioactive ore mining and milling plants. However, there was no legal framework to regulate the relations in nuclear energy. This was the reason for Ukraine to start the active development of its own nuclear legislation in the first years of its independence.

As the first step in creating the legal framework in the area of nuclear energy, 25 January 1994 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Concept of State Nuclear Safety Regulation and Nuclear Energy Management in Ukraine. It set the basis for the state safety regulation in the area of nuclear energy and basis for the state safety regulation in the area of nuclear energy and basis principles of the nuclear legislation, as follows:

  • priority of people protection against impact of radiation;
  • prohibition to conduct certain activities in the area of nuclear energy without a license;
  • state supervision in the area of nuclear energy utilization.

The next step was adopting by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine the Law of Ukraine “On Use of nuclear Energy and Radiation Safety” on 8 February 1995, which was a basic law in regard to the safe use of nuclear energy and radiation safety. It was the first law to establish the priority of human and environmental safety, rights and duties of the public in the area of nuclear energy, regulate the use of nuclear facilities and radiation sources, etc. in addition, the Law stated rights of citizens and their associations to get information on nuclear energy and radiation safety and to participate in shaping police in this area, socioeconomic living and working conditions nearby uranium ore mining plants, nuclear installations and radioactive waste management facilities, and citizen’s rights to be recompensed for the harm caused the adverse effect of ionizing radiation in the use of nuclear energy.

This Law also outlined the competences of authorities and regulators in the area of nuclear energy and radiation safety, established state safety regulation in the area of nuclear energy, determined the legal status of legal and natural entities that undertook activities in nuclear energy and radiation safety, identified requirements for the location, construction, commissioning and decommissioning of nuclear installations and radioactive waste management facilities, applied access control procedure at sites where nuclear installations and radioactive waste management facilities were located, regulated the operator’s liability for nuclear damage, enforced the liability for legislative incompliance in the area of nuclear energy and radiation safety, etc.

This Law promoted further development of nuclear legislation in Ukraine. In particular, the following laws were adopted: “On Radioactive Waste Management” (30 June 1995); “On Uranium Ore Mining and Milling” (19 November 1997); “On Human Protection against Ionizing Radiation” (14 January 1998); “On General Principles of Further Operation and Decommissioning of the Chornobyl NPP and Transformation of the Ruined Forth Unit of this NPP into an Ecologically Safe System” (11 December 1998); “On Permit Activity in the Area of Nuclear Energy” (11 January 2000); “On Physical Protection of Nuclear Installations, Nuclear Materials, Radioactive Waste, other Ionizing Radiation Sources” (19 October 2000); “On Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and Its Financial Support” (13 December 2001); “On Setting Nuclear Safety issues” (24 June 2004); “On Procedure for Making Decisions on Siting, Design and Construction of Nuclear Installations and radioactive Waste Management Facilities of National Significance” (8 September 2005) and other regulations.

The national nuclear legislation also includes a number of international treaties entered into by Ukraine. Primarily, it is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), entered into by Ukraine as a Non-Nuclear-Weapon State Party in December 1994. Article 3 of the NPT obliges each Non-Nuclear-Weapon State Party to accept safeguards on non-proliferation of nuclear material as set the International Atomic Energy Agency. Ukraine entered into such an agreement on 21 September 1995 and the Verkhovna Rada retified it on 17 December 1997.

It also includes the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage of 1963, which puts the absolute liability for nuclear damage on the operator. This Convention entered into force for Ukraine on 12 July 1996.

Ukraine also obeys the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (26 September 1986), Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident  (30December 1986), Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (5 September 1993), Convention on Nuclear Safety (17 December 1997), Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (20 April 2000).

The national nuclear legislation also includes regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine that establish law implementation mechanisms, regulations of central executive authority, rules and standards that identify safety criteria and requirements for nuclear facilities, ionizing radiation sources and terms and technical requirements to regulate the safety of operations and procedures in nuclear energy.

INFRASTRUCTURE OF STATE NUCLEAR AND RADIATION SAFETY REGULATION

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) is the main competent central executive authority that regulates nuclear and radiation safety in Ukraine.

As a regulator, the SNRIU is independent of organizations using nuclear energy. According to international requirements, the SNRIU is responsible for issuing official permits, taking regulatory actions, carring out reviews and assessments, conducting inspections and applying sanctions, as well as implementing safety principles, criteria, provisions and guidelines.

The basis functions of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (hereinafter referred to as the SNRCU) in regulating the safety of nuclear energy are to:

– establish safety criteria, requirements and conditions for nuclear energy use (rule-making);
– issue permits and licenses for activities in this area based on documents submitted by a licensee to confirm the compliance of his activities with safety requirements (safety assessment and licensing);
– ensure state supervision over compliance with legislation, standards, rules and regulations on nuclear and radiation safety apply sanctions envisaged by legislation in case of violations (supervision and enforcement).

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine applies the optimization principle in its activity aimed at state regulation of safe nuclear energy use. At the same time, the optimization of state regulation in the sphere of safe nuclear energy use is considered not a deregulation that means cancellation or reduction of regulation, but finding an optimal level of state regulation taking into account graded approach to the regulation of different types of activity related to specific installations (sources) according to their nuclear and radiation hazard. The results of this work as a whole will positively affect the state regulation, since SNRIU resources from deregulation will strengthen the regulation of those activities requiring such regulation given the high level of nuclear and radiation hazard, and thus the state regulation in the sphere of safe nuclear energy use will be optimized.

More detailed information on the SNRIU activity can be found at the SNRIU website