In what way are nuclear installations are being controlled?

The Belgian law for control of nuclear installations is laid down by the Royal Decree of July 20, 2001 concerning the general regulation for the protection of the population, the workers and the environment against the danger of ionizing radiations. This Royal Decree replaces that of February 28, 1963.

This regulation more specifically deals with the Federal Agency of Nuclear Control, that relies on Bel V for carrying out the inspections of the nuclear installations.

Relying on its more than 30 years of experience in nuclear safety, Bel V performs independent inspections of the activities in the different nuclear installations in Belgium. In particular, Bel V inspects all Belgian nuclear power plants. 

The purpose of those inspections is to ascertain that the licensee, who is THE person in charge of the safety of his installations, is correctly organized in order to comply with the regulations of his license and to guarantee the safety of his installations with respect to his personnel and the public, and to check if this organization operates efficiently. 

Bel V’s inspections are performed by authorized inspectors-experts, each one responsible for a specific installation, who carry out periodic inspections according to well-defined guidelines and procedures.

As far as the nuclear power plants are concerned, the inspectors spend an average of 2-3 days a week in the installations, and more during periods of shutdown for refuelling or outage. They perform different types of inspections: periodic inspections with regard to recurring activities of the installation, systematic inspections for evaluation of the normal operation, specific inspections as a result of incidents, licensing of the operating staff, follow-up of refuelling activities, special tests or any other specific situation.

The inspectors also monitor the modifications of the installations, in order to check independently if the licensee’s decisions are adequate from a point of view of safety.

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