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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Sectorial evaluation and needs assessment in the area of Safety and Security of Nuclear Installation in FSU countries

  • Closed
TACIS Region
Benefitting Zone
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
€ 199,727.00
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2006
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States


Type of activity




Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

Framework Contract


17/07/2006 - 31/05/2008



Project / Budget year

TACIS 2004 - Nuclear Safety Action Programme / 2004


The international community expressed its willingness to assist Russia and other former Soviet Union (FSU) countries in various ways to enhance safety and security of their nuclear installations and material, and reduce the threats. Thus the European Commission (EC) established this Project of “Assistance of the EC with the sectorial evaluation and needs assessment in the area of safety and security of nuclear installations in FSU countries”. The EC assistance was coordinated with other donor organizations with the same objectives (i.e. International Atomic Energy Agency –IAEA-, United States Department of Energy -US DOE-, etc)
While developing the project, on 19 February 2007, the EC issued “Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC)”. This Regulation requires, among other things, expanding the scope of the EC support in the area of nuclear safety cooperation to cover not only entities and bodies of partner countries but also any other third country in so far as they contribute to the objectives of this Regulation. As a consequence, COWI requested an update of the project specific objectives to propose the inclusion of potential cooperation subjects for the Far East, such as the border regions of Russia with China.


The modified specific objective of this Project were to identify the needs in the area of safety and security of nuclear installations and material in all targeted countries, including

Establishment of a strategic plan for the EC assistance in the region;
Assessment of the status of past and ongoing assistance projects related with safety and security of nuclear installations;
Assessment of the needs for assistance in the area of safety and security of nuclear installations;
Investigation of safety and security situations in the wider areas of Russian Far East, in particular the bordering states.


To assess the EC in the area of Safety and Security of Nuclear Installations and Materials, the Consultant implemented several sub-tasks:

  • Establishment of the strategic direction for the EC assistance, in which the Project Team reviewed the available documents on the policies and strategies of EC assistance in nuclear safety. The Consultant identified that a lot more effort was put to nuclear safety than to nuclear security, and suggested that the European Union (EU) support should enhance the security of sensitive materials and support multilateral organizations in charge of verification activities (IAEA, EURATOM). As an outcome of the review, the Consultant identified the “Instrument of Stability” as a useful strategic tool regarding future assistance in the area of nuclear safety and security.
  • Assessment of the past assistance projects, which consisted in the collection of the relevant information regarding the assistance of EC and other donors with regard to control of nuclear materials.
  • Needs assessment for the future assistance. Based on the assessment of past assistance the project team identified areas and specific subjects where the future assistance to be provided by the EC would be most effectively allocated in order to enhance the safety and security of nuclear installations and materials in the beneficiary countries.Under the INSC, the assessment was extended to FSU countries of interest, (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan), as well as African countries on the Mediterranean coast.
  • Safety and Security in the Russian Far East Region. This sub-task investigated situations in respect of illicit traffic (IT) prevention and nuclear material control (NMAC) in the Russian far-east regions, and identified projects where the EC assistance might be justified. In the case of China, the Project team investigated the areas in which assistance might be justified, and described the framework of that assistance. In addition to general issues such as safe management of radioactive waste, decommissioning of nuclear facilities, prevention of illegal traffic and nuclear materials control, a concrete project was identified, dealing with assistance to the decommissioning of the heavy water research reactor in China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE).

Project achievements

  • Strategic Direction for the EC Assessment Programme

The strategic direction proposed by the project team for the EC future assistance in the area of nuclear safety and security was based on identified threats and in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, adopted on 28 April 2004, which required all UN member-states to develop and maintain effective measures to account for and to secure Weapons of Mass Destruction related items in production, use, storage and transports. Three lines of defence should be established:

  1. First line of defence - Identification, analysis and prevention of the risk for diversion of the sensitive material;
  2. Second line of defence - Detection and early warning of the risk for the theft of nuclear material;
  3. Third line of defence - Reaction to and remediation of the risk, response plan for illicit trafficking.

The most practical approach for the EU actions was to concentrate on the second line of defence. Therefore detection, monitoring, identification and related training should continue as a core against smuggling radioactive and nuclear materials (NRM). Activities that would be ideally placed to address second line of defence include:

  • a) Development of advanced NDA techniques for detection, monitoring and identification of NRMs and also other “dangerous” goods, e.g. explosives;
  • b) Implementation of an integrated response plan by each country, jointly developed by EU, IAEA and DOE, to prevent IT of NRMs;
  • c) Supporting and enhancing common border control programmes in the international cooperation in fighting against IT of NRMs;
  • d) Sharing of information and formal cooperation to fight against IT of NRMs, because supplied materials are often not originating from the country where the purchase is made;
  • e) Advising and providing more training on the detection and protective measures required to deal with classical investigations on nuclear, radioactive or contaminated materials and/or persons
  • f) Supporting awareness building (education) for the first line officers at borders, customs or security personal to be given by national instructors in the native language.

- Assessment of Assistance Provided by International Donors

A list of 63 international projects were assessed by the project team. The list included 20 projects financed by the EC and coordinated by JRC, but did not include general training events on State System of Accountancy and Control (SSAC) provided by the IAEA. A majority of the international assistance projects was related to prevention of IT of NRM and to provision monitoring equipment with associated training of personnel for control of borders (mainly targeted to Russia and Ukraine, followed by Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia). The general criteria for the evaluation of the projects were the successfulness of the project implementation and the sustainability of the project results.
All the assessed projects were highly relevant or relevant to the needs with regard to NMAC and/or IT prevention in the concerned countries. In particular, they enhanced the capabilities of these countries for the detection of smuggling of NRM across the borders. However, two directions in the IT prevention area were hardly covered at all and should be considered:

  1. Monitoring of the performance of installed border equipment to check whether it performs in a reliable manner and whether it is properly and adequately maintained
  2. Improving capabilities to detect possible IT activities inside the country’s territories (e.g. for detecting NRM being illegally transported along country’s main transport routes).

There were two critical observations in respect of the following projects when considering future assistance activities:

  • a) EC project “Establishment of Facilities for Mass/Volume Measurements at the Ulba plant” for Kazakhstan, of which the deliverables are not likely to be used by the recipient facility. Apparently, Kazakhstan can satisfy requirements of the national SSAC and of the international safeguarding organization (IAEA) without the use of the supplied equipment.
  • b) EC project “Development of Modern Computerized NMAC System for Russian NPPs” and the follow up project “Development and Introduction of a Modern Computerized NMAC System for Kursk and Kalinin NPPs” for the Russian Federation; the first one was initiated in 2001 but has not resulted in any system in use even on a trial basis and the second one was planned in Annual Programme 2005. The recipient (Rosenergoatom) might not use the project deliverable as intended again.

- Needs for Further Assistance in FSU Countries and African Countries on the Mediterranean Coast

Needs for future assistance were assessed separately for each country of interest. The 16 countries that need the EC further assistance in the area of IT prevention and NMAC are assessed in three groups:

  1. Seven FSU countries (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) with TACIS activities on IT prevention and NMAC,
  2. Four FSU countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) new to EU assistance on IT prevention and NMAC,
  3. Five African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt) on the Mediterranean coast.

The needs assessed for each of the concerned countries can be summarized in the recommendation that the EC provides future assistance on IT prevention for border control points (also border control-related sites inside the country), in particular training of border control personnel and on NMAC to countries with facilities handling nuclear material in bulk form and in substantial quantities. EC should establish cooperation with Russia to fulfil established requirements of the SSAC and/or of the IAEA.

- General Situation in China

China started its civil nuclear power programme in 1980s. At the time of the project implementation, 3 large bases of NPPs were formed in the mainland of China, i.e., Qinshan, Daya Bay and Tianwan, and 11 units were in operation with the total installed capacity of nuclear power 9130 MW. The Chinese Government made in 2004 an important decision on the nuclear power development that it will build about 30 more nuclear reactors by the year of 2020 in order to meet the increasing demand electricity of China’s economic development. The Project team described the general situation regarding radioactive waste management, including national laws, regulations and standards; the related national administration system, policy and practice on the radioactive waste (RAW) management (such as classification of RAW, treatment of RAW generated from the nuclear industry and from nuclear technology applications), as well as decommissioning of research reactors. Although no serious problems regarding radioactive waste management were envisaged, China needed some advanced technologies, equipments and procedures to optimise it. The following issues were proposed for the initiation of preliminary cooperation between the EC and China:

  1. Decommissioning of research reactors –RRs- (including heavy water and light water RRs),
  2. Cost estimation for safe enclosure and decommissioning of nuclear facilities,
  3. Management and updated technologies for minimization of RAW from nuclear power plants,
  4. Technology for transfer of spent resin and sludge from large underground tanks,
  5. Retrieval technology of solid high level waste (HLW) from storage facilities or wells.

- Support of Decommissioning of the Heavy Water Research Reactor of CIAE in China.

CIAE is the first comprehensive nuclear science and technology R&D centre in China. Top management of its Department of Reactor Engineering Research and Design expressed their wish to explore the potential cooperation with the EC in the field of decommissioning of nuclear facilities and management of radioactive waste. As first step some of the project team members made a preliminary investigation of the situations in this regard. Their main outcomes were that China has a regulatory framework for the decommissioning, and several technologies have been developed. However, China did not have any experience in decommissioning regardless of its 5 shutdown research reactors.

Conclusions and recommendations

This Project was implemented with some delay with respect to the expected schedule mainly due to taking into consideration the requirements and expectations established in the INSC programme of the EC in the course of the project implementation, as well as due to the inability of the Chinese counterparts to accept the EC fact-finding mission as planned. The rest of the tasks were finished as specified.

This Project covered several subject topics, like the strategy and optimal direction of EC assistance to beneficiary countries on IT prevention and NMAC, assessment of previous assistance projects provided by different donors, assessment of the assistance needed in the future, and a general analysis of the situation in China. The project covered a huge geographical territory, including FSU countries, African countries on the Mediterranean coast .

It is highly recommended that the EC provide future assistance on IT prevention for border control points As Russia is concerned the EC should establish cooperation to address fulfilling established requirements of the SSAC and/or of the IAEA.

As China is concerned, the planned and postponed EC fact-finding mission to CIAE in Beijing should be conducted as soon as possible in order to initiate the potential cooperation formally. The further discussion with the Chinese counterparts may be concentrated on the following cooperation areas decommissioning, minimization of radioactive waste, technology for transfer and retrieval of solid HLW.