International cooperation is a shared objective of many countries, with a focus on improving the level of safety of nuclear power, improving radiation protection, and strengthening work towards nuclear non-proliferation. In our areas of operation, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority actively contributes to Sweden’s fulfilment of its international commitments.
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority participates in this international cooperation, which includes the exchange of knowledge and experiences between countries. This helps us benefit from other countries’ know-how and lessons learned, while at the same time sharing our own. This global collaboration provides fora to enable the Authority to raise the level of nuclear safety and to help improve radiation safety around the world.
International organisations and networks
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is involved in several different organisations:
- The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA
- The International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP
- The Nuclear Energy Agency, NEA, within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD
- The World Health Organization, WHO
- The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, UNSCEAR.
The Authority also has partnerships with sister authorities in the other Nordic countries, and we have bilateral agreements with several other states.
Cooperation in the European Union
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority participates actively in the work of the European Union and in the EU bodies that deal with matters of radiation protection and nuclear safety.
Cooperation in the EU is primarily based on the Euratom Treaty (European Atomic Energy Community), which was signed in 1957. The original intention of the Treaty was development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. At the present time, the Euratom Treaty contributes to areas such as promoting research in nuclear engineering and ensuring uniform safety standards.
The Euratom Treaty obliges the member countries to report to the European Commission on significant modifications to nuclear power facilities, and rebuilding works at the facilities. In Sweden, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is the body that performs reporting on such changes.
The Authority also contributes with expertise by means of various working groups within the EU. These for example include:
- The European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, ENSREG, which advises on matters of nuclear safety and waste management
- The Article 31 Group of Experts, which advises on radiation protection matters
- The Article 37 Group of Experts, which reviews new nuclear facilities.
There are also working groups for export control of dual-use items, transboundary waste shipments, decommissioning of nuclear power plants, technical assistance to countries outside the EU, and occupational health and safety.
Heads of regulators for nuclear safety within the European Union and in Switzerland cooperate in the framework of WENRA, the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association.
One of WENRA’s objectives is to develop a shared approach to nuclear safety among European countries with nuclear power plants. WENRA also serves as an independent body that assists institutions of the EU in evaluations of nuclear safety in EU applicant countries.
International conventions and treaties
Sweden has signed several international conventions and treaties. The main ones are:
- The Convention on Nuclear Safety
- The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management
- The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT ("Non-Proliferation Treaty")
- The HELCOM and OSPAR conventions on protection of the respective marine environments of the Baltic Sea area and North-East Atlantic
The above-mentioned conventions and the NPT mean that Sweden has undertaken specific obligations to improve the level of safety at Swedish nuclear power plants and improve radiation protection, while also working towards the non-proliferation of nuclear material and nuclear weapons technology. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is responsible for ensuring that Sweden complies with its agreements and follows international guidelines.
As a member of both the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and its European equivalent, CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization), the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority contributes to the development of safety standards for several product categories. Non-ionising radiation is a particular area where safe use is based on standards. Here, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority contributes to international and European standardisation applying to artificial tanning devices and lasers.
Development cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority also manages projects as part of development cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. The aim is to raise the level of safety at nuclear power plants in the region and to improve radiation protection for people and the environment. In addition, the Authority promotes education programmes on nuclear non-proliferation, and promotes combatting of illicit trafficking in these countries.