What is unique about the nuclear industry?

Answer:  Nuclear industry has a number of specificities: application of precautionary principle, Non Proliferation Treaty and IAEA safeguards regime, many international legally binding instruments for safety, security and safeguards, regulation by a safety authority and protection against terrorism. The final objective is protection of the workers, the public and the environment.

 

Background:

Nuclear industry has a number of specificities :

- It is based on the precautionary principle. Radiation protection and nuclear safety have been established for prevention of accidents and protection of the people and the environment. Linear no threshold model in radiation protection, principle of justification of an activity etc. are examples of precautionary measures.

- It entails the application of the non-proliferation treaty which means safeguards regime implemented by IAEA and the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material in order to prevent use or diversion of nuclear fissile materials for weapons fabrication.

- Many international legal instruments have been ratified by most of the nuclear countries (see next Q for more details) and are binding in their application.

- The industry is regulated by a national regulatory authority and has its own national standards based on internationally accepted safety standards (see next Q for more details).

- The industry as part of its safety approach is voluntarily exchanging worldwide information on events, incidents and accidents and transparency towards the public has become a rule.

- The industry has progressively put in place a nuclear wastes management strategy at all stages of the nuclear cycle. It is now an integral part of the political nuclear power.

- Finally, since the 9/11/2001, security and protection against terrorism are part of the measures taken to protect the public and the environment.

 

References: IAEA statute, Non Proliferation Treaty, IAEA Safety Standards, Conventions to be consulted on IAEA web site, EU Commission web site, NEA/OECD web site