Nuclear safety can be understood as accident prevention in nuclear installations, through its systems and its human resources, and the mitigation of risks and consequences if an accident should occur.
The main goal is that the radiological impact on people and the environment from nuclear installations remains as small as possible for both normal operation and potential accidents.
To achieve this, technical and organisational measures are put in place at all stages of a nuclear facility’s lifetime starting with its siting and design, manufacturing, construction and commissioning, operation, and finally, during its decommissioning. At every step, adherence to certain principles and practices which define what is known as safety culture is essential to ensure the safe operation of nuclear facilities.
The NEA's work on nuclear safety regulation is through the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA), in existence since 1989.
The CNRA is responsible for the NEA programme and its activities concerning the regulation, licensing and inspection of nuclear installations with regard to safety. Its main tasks are to exchange information and experience among regulatory organisations; to review developments which could affect regulatory requirements and to review current practices and operating experiences.