Annex attached to the main document.
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Tacis nuclear safety programme,
Tacis Nuclear Safety Programme in Russia
Since several years, the Tacis nuclear safety programme covers a range of areas with a large number of specific projects intended to improve nuclear safety in all concerned areas. The main objective of the programme is the improvement of the safety of nuclear power plants and of other civil nuclear installations located in the Russian Federation, including fuel cycle and waste management facilities In 1995, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Commission of the European Communities and the Russian Federation on the implementation of the Technical Assistance Programme in the field of Nuclear Safety. Other significant milestones of TACIS Nuclear Safety programme are as follows: - 1991: generic studies on design deficiencies of VVER V230 and RBMK; assistance to the Regulatory Authority - 1993: start of on-site assistance including supply of safety related equipment. - 1994: start of support in the area of safeguards - 1995: first technical assistance projects related to Northwest Russia (spent fuel and waste) Based on the experience gained, it is considered appropriate to better clarify both the objectives and the methods for our future co-operation under the Tacis programme.
2. The objectives of a new approach
Realistic cost estimates clearly show that external assistance can only make a partial contribution to the investments needed to increase the safety level of all of the currently operating plants. The same holds true for the management of spent fuel or radioactive waste as well as for other areas such as safeguards. This has resulted in the desire to review the focus of the Tacis programme so as to ensure its largest possible benefit and multiplying effect. The new assessment of priorities takes into account the political discussions between Russia and the European Union on the specific issue of spent fuel and radioactive waste management in Northwest Russia and their possible environmental impact. Another important reason for a new start relates to the need to improve the implementation mechanisms. Any new proposals should be based on experience, but also on the applicable rules. Emphasis should be given to shortened project cycle, as well as to the selection of larger projects. Simplification in contract management should also be systematically aimed at.
Partnership and transparency are key elements to ensure efficient implementation and long term sustainability. More visibility should be gained not only through more focus but also from improved dissemination of relevant results to interested parties. The programme should rely on the full commitment of the beneficiary organizations and receive full support at the highest political level.
3. Priority areas for Tacis Support
The following sectors are identified for priority action:
A competent and independent regulatory authority is a key element in
all sectors of nuclear safety. Tacis support to Gosatomnadzor is therefore
a clear priority. It will include:
3.1 Power reactor safety
Priority will be given to the transfer and broadening of safety culture
and methodologies. Other criteria applied in project selection are:
The on-site assistance programme based on a close relation between Russian
nuclear power plants and EU utilities will be continued. This on-site assistance
will have a significant part related to operational safety. These activities
will be specified in detail. As a rule, equipment can be supplied as part
of a limited number of larger “Plant Improvement Projects” (PIP) that are
based on a comprehensive approach encompassing the whole range of activities
from the assessment of the safety relevance of project proposals, to the
licensing, to the procurement, to the installation up to the adaptation
of operational procedures. The PIPs must fit into the overall modernisation
plans of the NPPs where they are to be implemented. For this reason, it
will be essential to have complete transparency among the involved parties
regarding these safety improvement plans. The relative commitments of the
involved Russian and the EU parties will be fully specified in due time
during project preparation. Increased contractual responsibility should
be placed on the on-site consultant for timely project implementation.
3.2 Radioactive waste management
Future technical assistance activities will focus on Northwest Russia and, possibly, Southern Urals.
- North West Russia
The safe management of spent nuclear fuel from icebreakers and submarines
and of radioactive waste in Northwest Russia is a major safety issue. Reference
is made to the political discussions held on this issue at the May 1998
EU/Russia summit and in the framework of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.
- Southern Urals
It is impossible to address the issue of the need for spent fuel and radioactive waste storage in Northwest Russia without reference to the same problem at Mayak. A first stage could be a common assessment of the Russian strategy for this location and an examination of possible areas for EU assistance, taking into account Russian decisions on planned facilities and possible support by other donors.
3.3 Decommissioning: comprehensive approach to power reactor and research reactor decommissioning
A number of power and research reactors have already ceased operation in Russia, others are near ceasing operation. Therefore all matters related to shutting down and decommissioning reactors are important for Russia and could be considered for support by the EU. They might include assessment of related technical, economic, financial and social aspects.
Since 1994, Tacis supports activities in this area. They aim at improving the safeguards system in Russia. An adequate control of all nuclear materials is a key non-proliferation issue. The Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and MINATOM implement these projects with a contribution from Gosatomnadzor. MINATOM and the Commission have set up a Joint Steering Committee (JSC) for this action. The establishment of the Russian Methodological and Training Centre in Obninsk (RMTC)provides the training of both operators and inspectors and the technical support to Russian operators. The creation of the Ural Siberian Training and Methodological Centre (UrSiMTC) in Snezhinsk will complete the process in providing training and services to operators involved in the back end of the fuel cycle and to inspectors. The technical co-operation concerns the metrological and analytical laboratories and the development of an industrial base for the production in Russia of appropriate instrumentation. For future years, the support to safeguards in Russia should enter into a more operational phase aiming to ensure the sustainability of the process. It is planned to put the emphasis on the dissemination of safeguards culture through the two methodological and training centres, in close continued co-operation with the JRC, and to spread out technological support for the installation of the necessary safeguards equipment in nuclear installations in Russia as well as to Gosatomnadzor. This should allow the implementation of Nuclear material accountancy and control in NPPs and in fuel cycle facilities and support to the Gosatomnadzor regional centres. Furthermore, the industrial co-operation on safeguards equipment will be pursued in order to involve new partners and to cover new key areas.
4. Russian participation
The renewed emphasis on partnership, sustainability and multiplying
effect calls for a reassessment of the Russian involvement in the programme.
The Commission will ensure more transparency and dialogue with the beneficiaries
at all stages of the programme and project cycles. This will also improve
their commitment to the objectives and the modalities of the programme.
An important aspect is the increased involvement of the beneficiaries in
the preparation of Terms of Reference. The programme should make adequate
use of the available local engineering and industrial capacities. The Commission
and Minatom will engage in a constructive dialogue to analyse the possible
specific procedural and contractual provisions of such participation.
· Larger projects
Tacis Supervisory Board
The Tacis Supervisory Board (TSB) provides for senior level general co-ordination and supervision of programming and implementation of the Tacis Nuclear Safety programmes for the Russian Federation. TSB operates on the basis of Terms of Reference agreed between the Commission and the Russian authorities.
The highest political forum for the EU-Russia relations is the Partnership