The overall objective was to strengthen the nuclear safety of nuclear activities within Kazakhstan. This project was focused towards development of the Kazakh Atomic Energy Commission (KAEC) regulatory capabilities in the field of licensing, radioactive waste management and inspections, towards the further development of technical support within the KAEC organization (quality assurance and document treatment) and towards assistance for the Kazakhstan’s report on the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
Task 1 dealt with the establishment of a radioactive waste (RW) classification and the definition of RW acceptance criteria. It provided KAEC with all the necessary information to establish a strategic paper for the supervision of the management of radioactive waste and to establish a RW classification and the definition of waste acceptance criteria.
In particular KAEC received necessary recommendations in the following fields:
- The Kazakhstan’s strategy of radioactive waste management (on the basis of first drafts established by KAEC);
- Development of a guide on the radioactive waste management program by the nuclear operator regarding the fulfillment of the national strategy on radioactive waste management;
- Development of a guide on a new Waste classification system (on the basis of a KAEC proposal);
- Training on codes allowing definition of boundary conditions in waste storage and disposal in order to select elements of Waste Acceptance Criteria;
- Technical/safety assessment of existing and/or planned storage facilities;
- Training on the license procedure including measurement techniques in the case of clearance.
Task 2 provided assistance in the preparation of the report on the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. Kazakhstan signed the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management in 1997 but the convention was not in force at the time of the project since it was not ratified. Task 2 consisted in providing assistance to KAEC in the establishment of a program for preparing the National Report that KAEC would submit when the Convention was ratified (for the 2009 review). The task 2 included the review of the expected content for each of the articles, presentation of the existing elements in Kazakhstan for each of the articles, joint definition of guidelines for the preparation of each section of the National Report taking into account the expected contents and the provided elements, suggestions of improvement actions to be described in the section K of the National Report and general recommendations for the management of the project of writing and issuing the National Report. The following articles were mainly addressed: siting of the storage facilities (Article 13), operation of facilities (Article 16), licensing (Article 19), regulatory body (Article 20), radiation protection (Article 24), BN-350 decommissioning projects (Article 26), disused and orphan sources (Article 28) and waste categorization (Article 32). The implementation of the agreed guidelines should allow a fair presentation of the situation that could at least partially fulfil the objectives of a first National Report. The section K of the report should reflect the conclusions of the other tasks of this project.
Task 3 provided assistance to the development of the KAEC licensing procedures. The two workshops organised within this task allowed KAEC to get valuable information concerning safety organization and licensing procedures in France and Finland, focusing on different aspects such as reactors, decommissioning and waste disposal. On the other hand, it was possible to get an overview of the Kazakh system and identify the most important lacks. An action programme that should be seen as a basis by KAEC to update and complete its regulatory framework was proposed by western experts.
Task 4 provided support to the KAEC inspection organisation helping KAEC to develop its approach and procedures in the field of regulatory inspection. The discussions at two workshops helped the KAEC members to improve their understanding of the Western European inspection practices. The regulation on KAEC inspection activity was reviewed and discussed. It was proposed to further develop KAEC internal guidance and practices in a more detailed manner on the basis of relevant IAEA Safety Guides and to provide a QA / Inspection Manual where inspection strategy and activities are included. It was also concluded that the inspection activity in Kazakhstan should be further developed and the size of KAEC staff increased at least by a factor of two. KAEC received within this task all the necessary elements to implement a program of actions to improve its inspection organization. The action plan would address preparation of an internal Quality Manual or Inspection Manual where KAEC inspection practices are described on the basis of IAEA guidance, the development of KAEC strategy paper to give guidance for inspection planning and a competence review in KAEC to identify the areas where new staff members need to be recruited.
Task 5 covered technical support to the KAEC organisation in the areas of quality management and document treatment. A Quality Manual has been established by KAEC according to the recommendations of the EU experts as the main output of this task.
Task 6 provided support to participation of KAEC in international conferences. The increasing responsibility of KAEC requires comprehensive knowledge of international regulatory activities. KAEC presence in such meetings and conferences was limited by budget constraints. In total 3 experts from KAEC benefited from this activity.