The Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight (Rostekhnadzor) was created in May 2004 through the merger of the Federal Nuclear Oversight Service (formerly Gosatomnadzor), the Federal Service for Technological Oversight, and the environmental oversight functions of the Federal Service for Oversight of the Environment and the Use of Nature. 1 This 2004 restructuring did not change the agency’s nuclear oversight mandate, as defined in the 1995 Law on Use of Atomic Energy. However, Rostekhnadzor’s mandate for oversight has expanded to non-nuclear areas such as heavy industry and mining. Rostekhnadzor also ensures operational safety of Russia’s nuclear facilities, safe nuclear material transport, protection of nuclear materials and radioactive substances, and proper materials accounting.
In May 2008, Rostekhnadzor was shifted from the supervision of the Government of the Russian Federation to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology (MinPrirody). 2 This move triggered widespread concerns regarding a perceived reduction in the authority and independence of oversight, especially as Rosatom was scaling up domestic nuclear construction. In response to these concerns the shift was reversed in June 2010, and Rostekhnadzor was placed back under the direct supervision of the Government of the Russian Federation later that year. 3
Rostekhnadzor is the state body that licenses nuclear facilities, issues equipment permits, and regulates the safety of nuclear energy use. However, the agency is not responsible for the safety of military-use nuclear energy facilities. Rostekhnadzor is also the regulatory agent, in accordance with Russia’s international obligations, for the following agreements: the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the United Nations Joint Convention on the Safe Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Radioactive Waste, and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM). 4 Rostekhnadzor has a headquarters in Moscow ; 31 territorial directorates; seven interterritorial directorates; and 16 subordinate agencies. 5
As a branch of Rostekhnadzor, the Scientific and Engineering Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (SEC NRS) researches technological and scientific improvements in nuclear safety. SEC NRS maintains partnerships with international organizations such as the European Commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the U.S. Department of Energy. 6
- Radioactivity: The spontaneous emission of radiation, generally alpha or beta particles, often accompanied by gamma rays, from the nucleus of an unstable isotope.
- Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS)
- The Convention on Nuclear Safety commits states operating nuclear power plants to establish and maintain a regulatory framework to govern the safety of nuclear installations. The Convention was adopted in 1994 and obligates parties to carry out comprehensive and systematic safety assessments of installations and ensure that the physical state and operations of installations are in accordance with the requirements of the Convention. For additional information, see the Convention on Nuclear Safety.
- Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management (JC)
- The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management opened for signature in 1997 and entered into force in 2001. The Convention aims to achieve and maintain a high level of safety in spent fuel and radioactive waste management; ensure that there are effective defenses against potential hazards during all stages of management of such materials; and prevent accidents with radiological consequences. For additional information, see the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management.
- Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)
- The CPPNM: Obliges parties to ensure that during international transport across their territory, or on ships or aircraft under their jurisdiction, civil nuclear materials are protected according to agreed standards. The convention also provides a framework for international cooperation on the protection, recovery, and return of stolen nuclear material, and on the application of criminal sanctions against persons who commit crimes involving nuclear material. The CPPNM opened for signature on 3 March 1980 and entered into force on 8 February 1987. The Amendment to the CPPNM extended the convention’s scope to also cover the physical protection of nuclear material in domestic use, in storage, and during transport, and of nuclear facilities used for peaceful purposes, and provided for additional cooperation between states. For additional information, see the CPPNM.
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- IAEA: Founded in 1957 and based in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA is an autonomous international organization in the United Nations system. The Agency’s mandate is the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, technical assistance in this area, and verification that nuclear materials and technology stay in peaceful use. Article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires non-nuclear weapon states party to the NPT to accept safeguards administered by the IAEA. The IAEA consists of three principal organs: the General Conference (of member states); the Board of Governors; and the Secretariat. For additional information, see the IAEA.
- Cristina Hansell, “The 2004 Russian Government Reforms,” 13 July 2004, www.nonproliferation.org.
- “О службе” About the service, Федеральная служба по экологическому, технологическому и атомному надзору (Ростехнадзор) Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight (Rostekhnadzor), www.gosnadzor.ru.
- “Перераспределены функции Ростехнадзора, Минприроды и Росприроднадзора” Functions changed for Rostekhnadzor, MinPrirody, and RosPrirodNadzor, RIA Novosti, 16 September 2010, www.ria.ru.
- “Основная деятельность службы” Main Activity of the Service, Федеральная служба по экологическому, технологическому и атомному надзору (Ростехнадзор) Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight (Rostekhnadzor), www.gosnadzor.ru.
- “Структура службы” Structure of the Service, Федеральная служба по экологическому, технологическому и атомному надзору (Ростехнадзор) Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight (Rostekhnadzor), www.gosnadzor.ru.
- “Новости отдела международного сотрудничества” News of the Department of International Cooperation, Научно-технический центр по ядерной и радиационной безопасности Scientific and Engineering Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, www.secnrs.ru.