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Long Term Operation of Nuclear Installations Under the Spotlight

June 22, 2020

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

Draft regulations designed to establish the requirements for the Long Term Operation of nuclear installations have been drawn up.

The mineral resources and energy department published the draft regulations in Government Gazette 43456 for comment.

The proposed regulations were drafted in terms of the National Nuclear Regulator Act and on the recommendation of the Board of Directors of the National Nuclear Regulator.

The draft regulations apply to nuclear installation licence holders who want to apply for the Long Term Operation of nuclear installations.

“Long Term Operation” is defined as the “operation of the nuclear installation beyond an established time-frame set forth by, for example, the licence term, design, standards, licence and/or regulations, which have been justified by safety assessment, with consideration given to life limiting processes and /or features of structures, systems, and components”.

The draft regulations focus on the lodging of applications, factors to be considered for Long Term Operation, requirements for programme for Long Term Operation, requirements of safety case for Long Term Operation, licensing stages and offences and penalties.

Applications need to be supported by a safety case to demonstrate continued safe operation of the nuclear installation for the period of Long Term Operation and must be submitted within the specified timelines.

Licensees must ensure that an “effective ageing management programme is developed, implemented and maintained to ensure that required safety functions of structures, systems and components are fulfilled over the entire operating lifetime of the nuclear installation”.

Licensees are also expected to “conduct systematic periodic safety review of the nuclear installation throughout its operational lifetime, taking into account the actual status of the facility, including the consequences of the cumulative effects of ageing and modifications to the facility, the operating experience and significant new safety information from relevant sources”.

Comment is invited within 60 days of the date of publication.