Performing licensing reviews

One of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s tasks is to review applications from the nuclear power industry for permission to refurbish or rebuild nuclear power plants and construct new facilities. This involves our assessing how safety requirements will be fulfilled at the modified or new facility. If an application is approved by the Government, our review work will continue. We examine fulfilment of the conditions in steps until the facility begins routine operation, at which point our review transitions into ongoing supervision.

Applications for construction of new nuclear facilities are processed by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. This involves our conducting an initial assessment as to how SSM’s safety requirements will be fulfilled at the modified or new facility. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority reviews and analyses documents and materials describing and illustrating the possible siting of a facility, in addition to its design, construction and subsequent operation.

As part of the initial assessment of safety, the relevant Swedish authorities and certain authorities of neighbouring countries are also to have an opportunity to submit their viewpoints. The background here is an agreement concluded between Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway to communicate safety concerns with each other, for example pertaining to changes to licence conditions for nuclear energy facilities located in close proximity to these countries’ shared borders.

Statements of views to the Government and environmental courts

The Authority subsequently submits a statement of its views to the Government and applicable environmental court. If we assess that the safety requirements will be fulfilled, we propose in our statement of views to the Government that it take a decision to grant the applicant authorisation to carry out the activity. In this document, we also propose that the Government take a decision on the licence conditions to be fulfilled by the licensee. After this stage, the Government considers the application under the Act on Nuclear Activities, and the environmental court examines it under the Swedish Environmental Code. The same legislation, rules and procedures apply to nuclear power plants’ plans for a power uprate.

When the Government and the court have taken a decision concerning authorisation, we conduct a step-wise review process to examine fulfilment of licence conditions. Our review and analysis work is performed in several steps. We review and analyse safety analysis reports, other technical documents, procedures, the organisation and training programmes for personnel. Only then can we take a decision on whether to permit the licensee to pass from one stage to the next in terms of constructing or commissioning a facility.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority takes decisions in the following steps:

A new nuclear facility:

  • whether construction may begin
  • whether it may begin commissioning with test operation
  • whether it may begin routine operation

Refurbishing or rebuilding an existing nuclear power plant for a power uprate:

  • whether the facility may begin test operation at a higher power level
  • whether the facility may begin routine operation at a higher power level

The step-wise review process is in compliance with international practice and recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority starts its ongoing supervision when a nuclear facility has begun routine operation.