IAEA Updates Regulatory Self-Assessment Program SARIS

How do regulatory agencies check whether or not their standards meet international expectations for safety? They can ask for an independent review from the International Atomic Energy Agency or make use of the UN watchdog's Self-Assessment of Regulatory Infrastructure for Safety (SARIS).

IAEAIAEA said Thursday that it had completed development of an upgraded SARIS tool that makes it easier for countries to check their regulatory mandates against international standards. The new SARIS includes more than 100 documents “that reflect a consensus on what is considered a high level of nuclear and radiation safety,” according to the IAEA write-up.

The documents provide a framework focused on helping countries “establish, maintain and continuously improve governmental, legal and regulatory” practices and policies for the critical nuclear power industry.

The first SARIS was launched in 2013. It has undergone several updates, making use of feedback from around the world – from operators, regulatory bodies and governments. The latest version “rationalizes and streamlines its question sets, making it easier to use,” said the IAEA.

The question set has been trimmed down by 75 percent. “This means that countries need less resources to carry out self-assessments, be it to address existing gaps in the national framework for safety, or get ready to host an IRRS mission.”

The IRRS acronym stands for Integrated Regulatory Review Services, which involves a variety of review processes, including peer reviews, information exchanges and site visits by expert consultants. They are initiated by a request from the host country. The IAEA also administrates the International Physical Protection Advisory Service in which teams, by request, visit the host country to review legislative and regulatory procedures, policies and processes regarding nuclear security.

The self-assessment tool SARIS is available for a free download from the SARIS collaboration, the IAEA noted.

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