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1.0 The regulatory independence in the nuclear sector
Since the inception of nuclear power as the alternative source of energy to replace the other sources of energy which emitted greenhouse gases, there has been a widespread embracement of the technology all over the world (Tomain, 2005). Many developed and developing nations have embraced the technology and developed new energy policies paying special attention to nuclear power as an alternative source of energy. Nuclear power production is a very delicate advancement and requires so much attention due to the hazards associated with nuclear radiations. This is to say that nuclear energy generation is a part of the energy sector that should be undertaken by organizations that are fully responsible. The regulation of nuclear energy generation should be done in a very transparent and efficient way. For this to be achieved, the regulatory bodies should be fully independent of the other powers governing a particular state.
1.2 International requirement for regulatory independence
There are laid down procedures and rules that must be followed in the production of nuclear energy. These procedures are aimed at ensuring that as much as a state undertakes -2-
NUCLEAR REGULATION nuclear energy production, it should also ensure that there is adequate protection of public health and safety. It should ensure that the world’s defense and security is not compromised as well as the protection of the environment (ElBaradei, 2003). According to international law, the generation of nuclear energy should not be used by the countries for the wrong reasons such as produce weapons. The generation of this form of energy should not be undertaken compromising the health and safety of the people it should also be done in safe ways since leakage of nuclear radiations can cause very adverse effects on both the population and the environment. Thus, for any state to be allowed by the international community to pursue nuclear energy, it must ensure that the safety of the people and the environment are assured (ElBaradei, 2003).
Since nuclear energy has become a very important source of energy, it is undertaking by any state needs some independence. The reason for this is that it will aid in the achievement of global energy policies that protects the environment by the non-release of carbon gases to the atmosphere. The development of safe and efficient nuclear plants should be done in accordance with the safety standards as outlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). I.A.E.A is an international body that is mandated with the regulation of nuclear power production and is affiliated to both the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council (ElBaradei, 2003). Thus, by for any state to pursue nuclear energy it should follow the international code on the generation and use of nuclear power.
International Atomic Energy Agency has over the years been calling for the independence of the regulatory bodies in the different countries. It calls for a state whereby the regulatory bodies will be able to make regulatory decisions and enforcements without pressure
NUCLEAR REGULATION from other areas of governance (Prado, 2008). This is because the pressure can result to compromise on safety measures which can make nuclear generation cause adverse effects to the environment. This regulation commission recommends that the regulatory bodies should be independent from government departments and other agencies together with other interested groups that might me promoting or opposing nuclear power production (ElBaradei, 2003). For the regulatory body to be able to deliver good results and ensure there is enough protection of the environment and the public, it should be able to exercise its regulation powers and decisions without any external interference. It should also be observed that the body should function within the laws of a country and abide by the budgetary estimates states by the government as other institutions also do. This ensures that there is sound decision making by the regulatory body and at the same time guarantees the protection of the environment and the safety of the public and the workers (ElBaradei, 2003).
2.0 The importance of independence in the early stages
Regulation of nuclear energy production is a very tricky issue and should be done in a non compromising manner. Regulatory decisions should be done in a very professional way and should be based on science and proven technologies coupled with experience that is relevant to the situation (Prado, 2008). The regulatory body should be independent from other government agencies and departments that might interfere with its decision making. Early independence of the bodies ensures that there is consistency in decision making and transparency in the operation of business within the decisions made by the body.
NUCLEAR REGULATION Independence in the early stages of the development of nuclear technologies ensures that there are fair and equal regulatory decisions on agencies that undertake this technology whether they are state or privately owned (Prado, 2008). The early independence ensures that external challenges that include interference from politicians and political groups with personal interests are kept at bay. Interference could result to compromise in the issuance of licenses and regulations of the organizations undertaking nuclear generation thereby compromising the safety of the public and the conservation of the environment (ElBaradei, 2003). The body should be independent so as to also avoid some internal wrangles that might also compromise the viability of decisions.
These wrangles may be caused by factors such as unavailability of well defined objectives and criteria on safety measures. This will make it difficult for the body to achieve consistent and predictable decisions that will be of economic and public importance. The hiring process of the professionals to serve in the bodies should not be done in a political manner as there should be laid down procedures and process for selection to serve in the body and promotion once in service. Failure to have this in place can make the regulatory body have incompetent staff that will be very prone to make biased decisions that are not based on proven science and technological ideas thereby compromising the safety of the general public and the environment. Making the body be in this state of having incompetent members will make it so much susceptible to external interferences thus affect its decision making process.
Independence of the regulatory body is ensured by having in place laws that govern its formation and operations (ElBaradei, 2003). The government should ensure that laws protecting
NUCLEAR REGULATION the activities of the body are available. There should be well stated objectives and principles that govern the regulation process. These objectives, values and principles of the regulatory body should be categorically analyzed in the legal framework of the government’s laws. These laws give the body the power to make decisions without any political interference and to understand the ways of legally avoiding interference in its operation if they happen to be (ElBaradei, 2003). This body should have the authority to exercise the powers bestowed on it by the legislated decrees and come up with safety regulations and enforcements to ensure the safety of the public and protection of the environment from nuclear hazards. The laws also award the body the ability to avert legal barriers that might interfere with the independence of the body in regulatory decision making. The independence of the regulation body ensures that there is transparency and accountability in the way the body carries out its operations.
Since the body is not liable to political interference, it should be accountable for its actions to both the government and the general public. This accountability ensures that the body makes decisions that are logical and do not endanger either the public or the environment. With this understanding the body will be in line to achieve its objectives effectively (ElBaradei, 2003). The body maintains accountability through periodical reports to both the government, parliament that is tasked with providing legislation for the protection of its independence and also publishing its operations and works for the whole public to be informed. This increases the reliability of the regulation body since its decisions will be governed and be able to be put under scrutiny.
2.2 Budgetary independence
The independence of the body too ensures that there is guaranteed financing of the regulation body by the central government. This stable and adequate financing guarantees the independence of the body and reduces the chances of external interference. It also ensures independence as the body, as the body has the ability to hire competent professionals and contract the expertise from scientific and technical experts for advice (ElBaradei, 2003). The financing framework should clearly state the sources of revenue for the body for instance licenses. Financial independence of the regulatory bodies should be ensured since it affects the levels of decision making process.
The budgetary allocation for the regulation body should not be put under the subject of government agencies that oppose nuclear technologies. The regulatory body should have the power to decide on the regulation activities it is to use its funds on independently. This is meant to allow the body to undertake the activities that ensure that there is the greatest efficiency and effectiveness in meeting its main objective of protection of the environment and the public from nuclear radiations. With this kind of independence, the body will be able to ensure that there is accountability on the use of the funds it is allocated. In summary, the independence of the regulatory body is very important at any stage of nuclear technology application as it ensures there is free decision making that is bound by scientific backing and that is free from political and other interferences (ElBaradei, 2003). The decisions made by the regulatory body revolve around regulations and issuance of licenses to agencies and approval of changes of designs of nuclear plants and processes and enforcements to be made.
3.0 Global expectation in nuclear regulation
The world had so many expectations on the nuclear technology as a source of energy to power industrialization. By mid 20th century, nations like the United States, Russia and France had fully operating nuclear plants (McDonald, 2008). The trend of nuclear embracement took a speedy course and there was increased growth between 1960 and mid 1980s. Nuclear technology accounted for almost 16 % of the global electricity generated by 1986 (McDonald, 2008). This was a notable achievement and the world was on the right track towards achieving its mission stated in the Energy Policy to curb climate change by reducing global warming. Countries like France have embraced nuclear power with much force such that by 2008, nuclear technology accounted for almost 78% of the country’s electricity. The global expectation before the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 was to have the generation of nuclear energy be disaster free concerning the leakage of nuclear radiations to the environment.
To achieve this there ought to be independence in the way regulation was carried out by the nations. The expectation towards nuclear energy is to avoid the occurrences of nuclear accidents like the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986. Nuclear energy regulation should observe transparency as a point of concern (McDonald, 2008). The regulatory bodies should have independence for this will affect the kind of decisions that they make concerning nuclear energy production. According to International Atomic Energy Commission, regulatory independence should be provided to the regulatory bodies by making relevant legislations. These legislations should give the regulatory body powers to make decisions and administer their resolutions on the agencies undertaking nuclear power production (McDonald, 2008).
3.1 Regulatory independence in Japan
The Fukushima nuclear disaster happened at a time when regulatory independence was being compromised in Japan. It showed the disparities in the regulation process in Japan. The regulatory body in Japan did not enjoy regulatory independence prior to this accident. The nuclear plants that were affected by the tsunamis happening on the shore of Japan had long been earmarked for renovations or closure to avert any nuclear disasters (Wales, 2011). Lack of independence in the making of regulatory decisions led to laxity in implementing this resolution and the latter coming repercussions of the nuclear accident. The regulatory body of Japan was not independent and financing of its activities was put under pressure due to the Government’s failure to ensure independence.
The body was left on the hands of market forces which affected the extent of decision making thereby compromising the security of both the public and the environment. This nuclear disaster has really changed the view of nuclear energy in the world with some countries taking an opposite stand on nuclear energy. The International Atomic Energy Agency insists that this accident will not thwart the progress made in nuclear power production but it will slow down the embracing of the technology. Many countries have been triggered by the Fukushima accident to either close down their plants or review their existing nuclear programs for reinforcements (Wales, 2011). For instance, the United States’ ambitions to pursue nuclear power generation were dealt a big blow by this accident. Japan had to close several nuclear plants due to this accident with the fear of more accidents happening.
This disaster happened to show that regulatory independence is a vital aspect of nuclear power generation. Many countries that have embraced nuclear energy have had to amend the legislations governing the regulation of this industry to achieve more independence on the bodies assigned with this task. This move has dearly affected the development of nuclear energy and future trend of nuclear power generation is unpredictable (Wales, 2011).
3.2 Effect of speed act and the law transparency on French regulation Nuclear power regulation in France is very independent of the government agency and arms. This has enabled France to reach a feat of being able to produce its 75% of electricity from nuclear energy. The independence of this energy sector has enabled France to be a leading producer of nuclear energy and this production is achieved at a very low cost (McDonald, 2008). Regulation of nuclear energy sector in France is under French Atomic Energy Commission. The government on its part has formulate laws that govern the nuclear energy sector and give the electricity commission independence to be able to carry out its activities without political interference (McDonald, 2008).
The law on transparency and independence has been the boost factor of the success enjoyed by France on the generation and use of nuclear energy. The commission has been able to successfully lay down regulations on the generation of nuclear power and nuclear waste disposal to avert any disaster. From this view, France has been able to successfully produce and export nuclear power to other countries of Europe. These laws have enabled France to be able to regulate its nuclear industry and become a leading producer and exporter of electricity from nuclear power (McDonald, 2008). This has made France the world’s largest exporter of electricity much of which is generated from nuclear energy. The legislations give the commission powers to exercise effectively and be accountable for their actions.
3.3 Regulatory and regulatory independence in Korea
Regulation of many sectors of Korea’s economy is done by the government. The regulatory bodies existing in Korea do not have the power constitutionally to make regulatory decisions without interference (Jacobs, 2000). This is synonymous like saying that in Korea there is no regulatory independence. In Korea, energy regulators are not separate from policy-makers arm of the government and the commission suffers much interference. This has adversely affected participants in the energy sector and demoralized many potential investors in the energy sector (Jacobs, 2000). There have been ongoing reforms on the regulation of business in Korea targeting all sectors of the economy including nuclear power generation. Regulation of the nuclear energy sector had been under the scrutiny of the government and other forces and this called for the formation of independent regulatory body to regulate the generation and use of nuclear energy (Jacobs, 2000). These reforms were aimed at making sure the energy regulatory commission is independent and free from political interferences. The reforms have been able to achieve positive results in the regulation of nuclear energy.
Before independence After independence
Before regulator independence was instituted in Korea, the regulatory body was under the ministry of energy. This took a different turn after the legislation allowing for the formation of an independent body that was under the authority of the president only. With this predicament, the body can make independent regulatory decisions. A study of conducted by nuclear safety experts in July 2011 on the state of nuclear energy generation in the Republic of Korea came to acknowledge the steps undertaken by the government to ensure that there is regulator independence in the nuclear energy sector. The team found out that the government of Korea has made good strides in the regulation of nuclear energy. A new independent regulatory body, the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) was formed in October 2011 to oversee the regulation of nuclear energy generation and use.
The research team noted that Korea has been able to formulate an efficient nuclear safety regulatory program that will be aimed at ensuring that safety of the public and the protection of the environment is guaranteed. It was also noted that there was a remarkable improvement in ensuring that the regulatory body has independence to make regulatory decisions without interference and at the same time enhancing efficiency and transparency. The team recommended that enhancements on safety management systems be made to avert any possible disaster and to enable the National Safety Commission to practice its independence on the regulation of the nuclear power industry (Jacobs, 2000).
4.0 Federal Authorization of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in Abu Dhabi, UAE and the Responsibilities and role of FANR in regulating ENEC The Federal Authorization of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) is a regulatory commission that was formed to be regulatory body that governs the generation of nuclear power in United Arab Emirates (Kaufer, 2011). It was established under the UAE nuclear law (9/2009) as an independent regulatory body that was tasked with the regulation of all nuclear activities in the United Arab Emirates. As an independent body, FANR was tasked with ensuring that the regulation of the nuclear sector is done in effective and transparent manner to ensure its accountability to the people.
Being independent, the regulatory body develops national nuclear regulations based on laid down safety standards by the International Atomic Energy Agency, ensuring that they are based on scientific and proven technologies (Kaufer, 2011). The Federal Authorization of Nuclear Regulation was formed as an independent regulatory body to oversee the regulation of nuclear power production in the United Arab Emirates. It was tasked with making regulatory decisions and coming up with regulatory programs. The principal role of FANR is controlling nuclear activities through designing actions and reinforcements to ensure safety of the public and the environment from nuclear radiations and hazards (Kaufer, 2011). Federal Authorization of Nuclear Regulation is also the licensing body that controls the all nuclear activities.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) was also formed through a government decree in 2009. It was aimed at serving as the nuclear Energy Program Implementation Organization (NEPIO) (Kaufer, 2011). This organization oversees the implementation of nuclear program in the country. To be able to achieve its mission which is to carry out nuclear activities effectively and ensure the safety of the public is maintained at it highest level possible, it co-ordinates its operations through the Federal Authorization of Nuclear Regulation (Kaufer, 2011). The FANR is the overall regulating body and the ENEC was formed to be under its jurisdiction. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation is one of the bodies that implement nuclear energy policy and it falls right under the regulation of the FANR. The role of FANR is to ensure that the all corporations that undertake nuclear activities follow the laid down procedures and objectives and ensure safety measures are taken keenly to ensure the safety of the workers and the general public while at the same time ensuring the environment is free from nuclear radiations (Kaufer, 2011).
Nuclear power generation is a weighty issue and should be undertaken without a lot of care. Nuclear radiations if leaked to the environment can cause very adverse effects to the environment and the public. Nuclear disasters from like the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 in Ukraine proved that nuclear power is very delicate field and much safety measures should be undertaken to reduce these effects (McDonald, 2008). This Fukushima accident of 2011 also helped to show the loopholes on the regulation of the nuclear industry. The nuclear energy industry with its viability to provide carbon-free cheap energy needs independence on the parts of regulation.
The regulatory bodies should have the independence to make decisions concerning the investment and measures taken towards nuclear energy production. The governments of the nations undertaking nuclear energy production should ensure that there are legislations awarding independence to the bodies regulating nuclear power generation. The International Atomic Energy Commission should be mandated to ensure that any country that undertakes nuclear power generation should meet the set conditions that require the regulating body in the country to be independent. It can achieve this by reviewing the laws establishing the bodies to suggesting changes that can be undertaken to ensure the bodies formed are independent and free from any interference (ElBaradei, 2003). A country that doesn’t meet the laid down measures should not be allowed to undertake nuclear power production.
The international regulatory body should also formulate a code of ethics concerning regulation of the industries that should be adhered to by any participating nation. Despite the production of nuclear power being the cheapest to maintain it poses the greatest risks to both the public and the environment if not handled in the right manner. It is a very risky industry which ought to be handled with a lot of care. To ensure this and to avert disasters regulation of nuclear energy production should be done independently from other state corporations. Regulatory independence should be ensured to ensure that the regulatory bodies carry out their activities without any interference. With this being instituted, it ensures that the decisions made by the bodies are very professional and effective to ensure the safety of the public and the environment is guaranteed. Therefore, it is recommended that the countries that undertake nuclear power production should formulate legislations forming independent regulatory bodies. The independence of these bodies should always be maintained to ensure that safety of the public and the environment is maintained (ElBaradei, 2003).