Nuclear regulatory authority
The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) is responsible for the Nuclear Energy Act, in consultation with other Ministries for activities which fall within their particular sphere of competence. Within the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management the entity Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection, part of the Environmental Safety and Risks Directorate, which resides under the Directorate-General for the Environment and International Affairs, is responsible for policy development for nuclear safety, security and radiation protection, including the framework of law, decrees and ministerial regulations in these areas.
In 2015 the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) was formed as a separate entity within the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. From August 1st, 2017 the ANVS, has become an Independent Administrative Organization by law. Its independent competencies reside at the Management Board of the ANVS, consisting of a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson, both appointed by the Minister. The ANVS is the most relevant authority with respect to the regulatory process under the Nuclear Energy Act. The ANVS is independent in its tasks including regulatory decision making, but the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management is politically accountable for its functioning and has final responsibility for the effective operation of the ANVS.
The regulatory activities of the ANVS consist of licensing, supervision (assessment, inspection, enforcement), national and international cooperation (including regulatory research), public communication, supporting national organizations with its knowledge as well as research needed for its tasks. In addition, ANVS advises on policy and legislation. The ANVS protects people and the environment in the areas of nuclear safety and radiation safety (installations and activities) and has also responsibilities regarding emergency preparedness, nuclear security and safeguards, waste and transport safety.
There is one nuclear power plant in operation (NPP Borssele, 1973, PWR, 1365 MWth), one plant under decommissioning (at the safe enclosure stage), two research reactors HFR Petten (45 MW, used for the production of medical and industrial isotopes) and University of Delft (2 MW, academic research), an enrichment company (Urenco) and a centralized storage facility for waste (COVRA). A new research reactor PALLAS to replace the HFR is currently in pre-licensing phase.
Radioactive waste and spent fuel management
As a consequence of this relatively small nuclear program, both the total quantities of spent fuel and radioactive waste, which have to be managed, as well as the proportion of high-level and long-lived waste are modest. Most of the radioactive waste management activities are therefore centralized in one waste management organization, the facilities of the Central Organization for Radioactive Waste (COVRA), which are located at one site in the municipality of Borsele, in the South-Western part of the Netherlands. In this way as much benefit as possible is taken from the economy of scale. COVRA has facilities for the interim storage of conditioned low-, intermediate- and high-level waste. The latter category includes spent fuel of research reactors, waste from molybdenum production and waste from reprocessing of spent fuel of NPPs. COVRA also manages radioactive waste from non-nuclear origin. The COVRA buildings have been designed in such a way that, if necessary, the interim storage may last for up to 300 years.
Main legal instruments
The Nuclear Energy Act (Kernenergiewet, Kew) is the main legal instrument. It regulates the use of nuclear energy and radioactive techniques and lays down rules for the protection of the public and workers against the associated risks. Based on this act, the most important decrees in relation to the safety aspects of nuclear installations are: the Nuclear Installations, Fissionable Materials and Ores Decree (Bkse); the Radiation Protection Decree (Bs); and the Transport of Fissionable Materials, Ores and Radioactive Substances Decree (Bvser). Furthermore, the national regulatory framework contains several Ministerial Regulations. More detailed legal requirements are made effective through licenses. The EU directives on Waste and Decommissioning (2011/70/Euratom), Nuclear Safety (2014/87/Euratom) and Radiation Protection (2013/59/Euratom) have been transposed into this national regulatory framework. Other important laws to which nuclear installations are subject are The Environmental Protection Act (Wet Milieubeheer, Wm) and the General Administrative Act (Algemene wet bestuursrecht, Awb).
More information can be found in the National Reports to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on Nuclear Waste and Spent Fuel, as well as the Guide for Readers on the National Policy for Nuclear Safety:
Last updated in September 2020