IFE does not violate international safety rules
The Norwegian news distributors NRK.no and NTB refer to Nils Bøhmer in Bellona, who claims that international safety rules are broken at the Kjeller reactor. Bellona's claim that IFE violates international safety rules is incorrect since there are no international safety rules. All regulations applicable to the reactors in Norway are managed by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority in accordance with national laws and regulations. IFE's operation of the reactor is in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and orders.
An international group of eight experts has between 3-10. October has reviewed the safety of the nuclear research reactor at Kjeller. IFE has invited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to this review as part of ongoing efforts to improve safety. This is not an inspection, but a peer review in which the reactors are assessed by IAEA's safety standards.
The IAEA Security Recommendations are being developed continuously, and IFE must develop our security work as it progresses.
“For IFE, safety is more important than anything else, so we are constantly working on improving the safety culture. We wanted a thorough review where experts on research reactors undergo all systems and inspect the reactor”, says Nils Morten Huseby, President at IFE.
The expert group concluded that the reactor at Kjeller is in good technical condition and that it is well maintained. Unlike Bellona, IAEA highlights that IFE strongly emphasizes safety work and has continuous efforts to improve the safety culture. See IAEA press release https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/iaea-mission-says-research-reactor-operator-in-norway-is-committed-to-safety
See summary report (pdf) from the IAEA INSARR mission 2017.
The IAEA has provided IFE with recommendations for improvements. According to the expert group, they have brought fewer improvement points to IFE than is common in such reviews. The expert group emphasized that they had not seen anything in their thorough review which indicates that IFE should not get a new license for the reactor at Kjeller.
"The recommendations of the IAEA are in line with improvements that we have identified and which we are in the process of implementing. The recommendations of the IAEA further contribute to our work on safety. In the recommendations, they mainly point to the need to improve routines and management systems. We have an ongoing process for improving routines and security culture, and this work is given high priority", says Huseby.
IFE will review the action plans for improving safety culture to comply with the recommendations of the IAEA. Furthermore, we will have dialogue with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, which has been an observer during the expert group's review of the reactor. All recommendations from the IAEA must be reviewed by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority to ensure that they comply with national laws and regulations managed by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.
IFE puts safety first, before everything else. We have invited the IAEA to review the safety culture of the entire IFE in March 2018 through a so-called ISCA (Independent Safety Culture Assessment). Furthermore, we have invited the IAEA to undertake a follow-up of 12-18 months where they investigate whether IFE has implemented satisfactory measures according to the IAEA recommendations.
President: Nils Morten Huseby, tel. +47 905 44 545
Communications Director: Silje Aspholm Hole, tel. +47 930 22 096