Keywords: nuclear safety, nuclear law, regulation harmonisation, new requirements, nuclear power plants, backfitting, safety threshold, as-low-as-reasonably practicable principle, nuclear energy, nuclear power
Harmonisation of safety rules: can existing nuclear power plants be forced to comply with new requirements?
This paper, based on a survey in nine countries, deals with the way in which different countries impose new requirements on existing nuclear power plants. This is a question that will often arise when national regulations are revised in a process of international harmonisation. It will be shown that new requirements can be divided into three categories with different justifications and different consequences. As to the legal implications, two types of national law can be distinguished, with two basically different approaches to the question of how safe existing plants have to be. The result is that there are certain legal limits in each country that may, in particular cases, prevent the relevant authority from imposing new requirements on existing plants. Therefore, these limits will have to be considered in the process of harmonisation of nuclear safety standards.