Our safety and security work

Licensees of nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities have the full responsibility for ensuring that their facilities are operated to meet nuclear safety and radiation protection requirements, and protection of workers and the surroundings against radiation. The role of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is to impose safety and security requirements as well as to conduct follow-ups to ensure that the entities operating the facilities fulfil the applicable regulatory frameworks and requirements.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has the following main areas of responsibility in terms of activities both inside and in the surroundings of nuclear facilities:

  • Imposing nuclear safety and radiation protection requirements for nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities – from planning and construction to operation and decommissioning of the facilities
  • Conducting follow-ups to ensure that parties carrying out nuclear activities comply with regulations and rules for radiation safety. It is always the licensee that bears the responsibility for nuclear safety and radiation protection. Our role is to exercise regulatory supervision to check that those responsible meet regulatory compliance requirements
  • Processing licence applications and examining applications for nuclear power plant power uprates
  • Representing Sweden in fora for international cooperation relating to radiation safety at and around nuclear facilities
  • Initiating and supporting research that develops knowledge and improves skills concerning nuclear safety and radiation protection at nuclear facilities
  • Having a role as part of Sweden's nuclear emergency preparedness.

The Government and Riksdag (parliament) of Sweden – and ultimately the Swedish people – have tasked us with our mandates. The Government and parliament determine the orientation of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s work and set its budget. Its operations are financed through charges paid by the facilities for regulatory supervision, licences, authorisation and research.

We develop the regulatory framework for nuclear safety and radiation protection

The Authority issues safety regulations that are binding for nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities in Sweden. These regulations are formulated on the basis of Sweden’s Radiation Protection Act and Act on Nuclear Activities, EU legislation, in addition to international conventions, agreements, recommendations and treaties.

The regulations also have their foundations on experience gained from our inspections and reviews of facility safety. International safety standards and research in the nuclear field also form the basis of Swedish regulations.

We also issue general advice and guidance whose intention is to serve as a tool for licensees of nuclear facilities to aid their comprehension and compliance with legislation and regulations.

Exercising supervision

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority exercises regulatory supervision over nuclear facilities in the area of nuclear safety and radiation protection. In practice, this means that we perform inspections, reviews and follow-ups of nuclear safety and radiation protection at these facilities. We also examine these safety aspects that relate to shipments of radioactive material and management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.

We check to ensure that the facilities comply with the requirements imposed for various safety aspects. Nuclear safety and radiation protection in the contexts of workers at these facilities and the surroundings is a key part of these controls, as is physical protection against sabotage, attacks and the like directed at the facilities.

We also monitor compliance with requirements to prevent diversion of nuclear fuel and other fissionable material.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has partnerships with several other national agencies, such as the Swedish Work Environment Authority, Swedish Chemicals Agency, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, plus county administrative boards.

Considering, reviewing and approving applications for power uprates

When a licensee has plans for a reactor power uprate, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority reviews the licence application. The Authority subsequently submits separate statements of its views to the Government and the Land and Environment Court. When the Government has taken a decision concerning authorisation, we investigate whether the licence conditions are fulfilled.

The same regulations and process apply to the construction of a new nuclear facility.

Our international cooperation

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is an active member of a large number of international fora and partnerships for the purpose of promoting nuclear safety, radiation protection and nuclear non-proliferation. We also have cooperation partners internationally to strengthen work on nuclear non-proliferation. This field encompasses efforts to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.

The Authority is also an active member of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA) and OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, the NEA. We also work together with many of our sister authorities in other countries.

We develop new knowledge

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority carries out studies, investigations, and provides funding for research and development work.

Besides giving research assignments to external scientists, analysts and developers, the Authority also participates in large-scale international research projects, for example in the European Union and OECD. In this way, we can maintain the high level of expertise that we require. Another aspect is that the research initiated and supported by us is a part of developing our own regulatory supervision.

We are prepared for emergencies

The emergency organisation of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is prepared around the clock if an accident should occur at a nuclear facility, while transporting radioactive material, and for other accidents involving radiation. We mainly give advice to county administrative boards on topics relating to protection of the population and impacts of accidents.

If a nuclear power accident takes place abroad, we will monitor the situation so that we can provide advice and recommendations to other government bodies, for example the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This is also important so that we can keep the public and media informed about the situation at hand.