ASN Report 2022

an examination process which allows broad scope for technical dialogue with industry and the nuclear activity licensees. During this technical dialogue, the possibilities for improving safety are explored in the light of what is reasonably achievable. The state of the art regarding the subject in question, including international experience feedback, is examined. Dialogue covers not only questions of nuclear safety, radiation protection and environmental protection, but also technical and industrial feasibility and the implementation lead-times. Over and above dialogue with industry, the licensees or the nuclear activity managers, the ASN resolutions process includes wide-ranging consultations. On the more important subjects, ASN may call on the opinion of its Advisory Committees of Experts (GPEs). They comprise experienced experts from French and foreign safety organisations, but also from industry, universities, as well as non-institutional experts, and allow a rich debate offering a degree of perspective with respect to the conclusions of the expert assessments – whether from ASN or the IRSN – and the arguments put forward by industry. Barring a few rare exceptions, the opinions issued by the GPEs are the result of a consensus by all members. The use of this in-depth technical dialogue is of benefit both for safety and for the development of innovative technologies, such as the Small Modular Reactors (SMR) or Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR). As this dialogue takes place well upstream of the regulatory procedures, it enables ASN to inform the project sponsor of the choices made in terms of safety, as of the first discussions concerning a new installation project. Dialogue is iterative, in other words, the industrial firm presents initial options at the preliminary design studies stage. Very early upstream in the process, it is possible to state whether such or such an option envisaged is likely to lead to a deadend, thus helping the industrial concern to avoid wasting time. This dialogue also helps the industrial firms by giving them visibility regarding the applicable baseline safety requirements. Above all, it helps ensure that safety issues are correctly taken into account at each step in the projects. A nuclear safety and radiation protection regulation and oversight organisation equal to the challenges In the current context, independent regulation and oversight based on technical dialogue is of particular importance. ASN already has a solid in-house skills base enabling it to carry out this technical dialogue. Competence – one of ASN’s four values – is acquired through high-level recruitment, a systematic initial training programme such as very few institutions possess, and career paths enabling the personnel to commit to the longhaul and develop their experience of regulation and oversight. These skills, some of which are expert assessment skills, enable ASN to issue a significant percentage of its resolutions without having recourse to its external support organisations. It is important to preserve and even reinforce this capacity because the very credibility of ASN’s resolutions is based on science and technology: the existence of a continuum between expert assessment and resolution is therefore already in reality an essential component of the existing regulation and oversight system. At the beginning of February 2023, the Government announced its intention to change the regulation organisation to reinforce its independence and the competence of ASN. At the time I am writing these lines, this proposal is still being debated by Parliament. Whatever the regulatory organisation finally chosen, the personnel at ASN and the personnel at IRSN will continue to work together, in pursuit of the same goal of protecting people and the environment. I know that I will be able to count on their commitment to continuing the mission our fellow citizens expect of them. n 10 ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2022 Editorial by the Director General