Codes and standards in nuclear safety

Codes and standards are technical positions that govern specific activities such as welding, fabrication, testing and non-destructive examination. These activities are crucial to establishing and maintaining safe and reliable nuclear operations.    

Codes and standards are typically developed by non-governmental Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) as optional guidance that can be converted into requirements if a regulator incorporates them by reference into a regulation.    

NEA work on this topic

The design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants (NPPs) is a multinational globalised industrial endeavour. It is unavoidable for any given country to use codes, materials, components or services that are produced by or provided from other countries. Consequently, the NPPs' safety and reliability must be assessed by the regulator of the concerned countries while relying on foreign codes and/or vendors. The necessary reliance on foreign codes or products creates a very time-consuming and costly assessment process.

Code convergence and reconciliation is a very valuable but challenging long-term work. Its success is strongly dependent on global co-operation and voluntary technical support, in particular from Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) and the World Nuclear Association (WNA) Cooperation in Reactor Design Evaluation and Licensing (CORDEL) group.