NEA Mandates and Structures
Working Group on Codes and Standards (WGCS)
|Member(s):||All NEA member countries|
Under the NEA Statute
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)|
|Date of creation:||04 June 2018|
|End of mandate:||03 June 2021|
Mandate (Document reference):
- Summary Record of the 37th Meeting of the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities held on 29-30 May 2017 [NEA/SEN/NRA(2017)3];
- Summary Record of the 38th Meeting of the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities held on 4-5 December 2017 [NEA/SEN/NRA(2017)5];
- Summary Record of the 39th Meeting of the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities held on 4-5 June 2018 [NEA/SEN/NRA(2018)3];
- Mandate of the Working Group on Codes and Standards (WGCS) [NEA/SEN/NRA(2018)5]
Mandate (Document extract):
Extract of document NEA/SEN/NRA(2018)5
The design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants (NPPs) is a multinational globalised industrial endeavour. It is unavoidable for any given country to use codes, materials, components or services that are produced by or provided from other countries. Consequently, the NPPs’ safety and reliability must be assessed by the regulator of the concerned countries while relying on foreign codes and/or vendors. The necessary reliance on foreign codes or products creates a very time-consuming and costly assessment process.
Code convergence and reconciliation is a very valuable but challenging long-term work. Its success is strongly dependent on global co-operation and voluntary technical support, in particular from Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) and the World Nuclear Association (WNA) Cooperation in Reactor Design Evaluation and Licensing (CORDEL) group.
In this context, the mandate of the Working Group on Codes and Standards (WGCS) is to facilitate and promote international co-operation, convergence and reconciliation1 of codes, standards and regulatory requirements for pressure-boundary components in nuclear power plants in order to:
- Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of:
- Design review and construction oversight
- Operating NPP oversight, including in-service inspection, repair, replacement and modification;
- Enhance NPPs’ quality and safety;
- Support the ability of regulators to make decisions on safety.
To this end, the WGCS will prioritise tasks, according to the interest of the members, in order to:
- Maintain and improve a communication process for sharing code updates and for discussing the use of nuclear codes and standards as they relate to regulatory frameworks;
- Play a role as an interface between the regulators, SDOs and industry in code comparison, code convergence, and limiting further code divergence;
- Consider the basis of code criteria and ensure code revision does not improperly impact safety and reliability;
- Develop or improve general guidance for converging code requirements and explore strategies for code reconciliations;
- Benchmark regulatory practices in using codes and standards;
- Promote interoperability, reconciliation and/or harmonisation of regulatory practices as it pertains to codes and standards;
- Promote incorporation of harmonised best practices among the codes;
- Develop Common Positions and Technical Reports.
Methods of Working
In terms of working methods, the WGCS will, according to its priorities:
- Exchange construction and operation experiences in nuclear regulation and share supplementary regulatory requirements to codes and standards;
- Support code comparison activities to identify areas of technical commonality and areas of difference in codes and standards;
- Assess the impact of code differences on safety and reliability; assess the applicability and sufficiency of code requirements; and develop strategies for accepting or conditionally accepting differences or requirements in codes;
- Encourage SDOs and industry to jointly develop universal new code requirements on significant technical issues with international interest that are not currently addressed in codes;
- Converge code requirements using a stepwise approach; in each step, the activities include topic selection, code comparison, development of harmonised code requirements, and incorporating them in codes;
- Encourage SDOs to communicate with each other to minimise code divergence during code updates; encourage the countries that plan to develop their own codes to study the existing codes carefully and minimise the potential differences between new and existing codes;
- Use the knowledge obtained in code convergence and reconciliation to improve and minimise differences among regulatory practices for the use of foreign codes and standards;
- Report to the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and assist that Committee with its work;
- Identify research needs, in co-ordination with Committee on Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI), where the WGCS concludes that the current level of technical knowledge is not sufficient to support establishment of technical guidance;
- Co-ordinate the WGCS work with other NEA subsidiary bodies, the Multilateral Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP) and international organisations, such as the IAEA, the European Commission or the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).
1. Where convergence is to establish the same or equivalent codes requirements in order to reduce the areas in codes identified as “different”, reconciliation is to accept or conditionally accept differences in codes requirements by justifying their sufficiency in ensuring safety and reliability.