The Ministry of Ecology and Environment (National Nuclear Safety Administration), being the nuclear and radiation safety regulator of China, undertakes overall regulation and management of national nuclear safety, radiation safety and radiation environmental protection, and independently regulates national civil nuclear facilities and nuclear technologies in a centralized manner, with the aim of ensuring licensees carry out nuclear activities in accordance with laws and assume relevant safety responsibilities through license review and approval, supervision and inspection and supervisory monitoring and other activities.
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment (National Nuclear Safety Administration) mainly takes the following regulatory responsibilities for nuclear and radiation safety:
(1) Regulation of nuclear and radiation safety. Draft and implement policies, plans, laws, administrative regulations and departmental rules, systems, standards and specifications pertinent to nuclear and radiation safety, electromagnetic radiation, radiation environmental protection, and emergency response to nuclear and radiation accidents;
(2) Centralized regulation of the activities for nuclear facility safety, radiation safety and radiation environment protection;
(3) Regulation of licensing, design, manufacture, installation and non-destructive inspection of nuclear safety equipment, and safety inspection of imported nuclear safety equipment;
(4) Safety regulation of nuclear material control and physical protection;
(5) Regulation of radiation safety and radiation environment protection for nuclear technology application projects and uranium (thorium) mines and mines associated with radioactivity;
(6) Regulation of the safety and radiation environment protection in handling and disposal of radioactive waste, and inspection and examination of radioactive pollution prevention and control;
(7) Regulation of transportation safety for radioactive substances;
(8) Nuclear and radiation emergency response and investigation on the issues which are under the scope of the responsibility of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (National Nuclear Safety Administration), and participation in prevention and handling of nuclear and radiological terrorism events;
(9) Management of the qualifications of reactor operators, and personnel engaged in special process of nuclear equipment;
(10) Organization of radiation environment monitoring and supervisory monitoring of nuclear facilities and key radiation sources;
(11) Implementation of the international conventions on nuclear and radiation safety;
(12) Guidance of regional offices of nuclear and radiation safety inspection on relevant activities.
Founded in July 1984, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) has experienced the following three stages:
(1) Starting and growing stage (1984-1998)
NNSA was officially established on July 2, 1984. Then under the leadership of State Science and Technology Commission, regional offices of nuclear and radiation safety inspection were set up successively in Shanghai, Guangdong, Chengdu and northern China, and technical support units, including Beijing Nuclear Safety Review Center, Suzhou Nuclear Safety Center, and Technical Research Center for Nuclear Equipment Safety and Reliability of China Academy of Machinery Science & technology came into being one after another. Establishment of law: The Regulations of Civil Nuclear Facility Safety was issued, marking a start to establish law and regulation system with Chinese characteristics and integrating international standards. Administration by law: Nuclear safety licensing system, supervision and inspection system and other basic regulatory systems were developed and implemented.
(2) Integration and improvement stage (1998-2008)
In March 1998, NNSA was wholly incorporated into the State Environmental Protection Administration. In 2003, China officially issued and implemented the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Radioactive Pollution, the first law with respect to nuclear safety and prevention and control of radioactive pollution. During this period, Chinese nuclear safety regulation organizational system became sounder, and with the establishment of six regional offices, the overall picture of nuclear safety regulation across China was present. As the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Center, the Technical Center for Radiation Monitoring and other technical support organizations expanded or upgraded, their technical power got strengthened. More than ten scientific research institutions and universities, including China Institute for Radiation Protection, China Institute of Atomic Energy, and Tsinghua University became long-term stable technical support teams.
(3) Rapid development stage (2008 to today)
In 2008, the State Environmental Protection Administration was upgraded to Ministry of Environmental Protection, with NNSA remained. In 2011, NNSA had its functional department expanded from one department into three, and its structural development made considerable progress, the function more optimal, team increasingly big, laws and regulations more sound, and regulatory capability and level enhanced significantly.
With over 30 years of exploration and practice, nuclear and radiation safety regulator grew out of nothing and has expanded from a small to a large force and a set of law and regulation system with Chinese characteristics benchmarking international standards have been in place. With the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (National Nuclear Safety Administration) being the administrative center, regional offices for nuclear and radiation safety inspection being the major role, and Nuclear and Radiation Safety Center and Technical Center for Radiation Monitoring being the primary technical support, a trinity regulatory organization system is created, and a team of personnel for nuclear and radiation safety regulation, who are ambitious, highly professional, rigorous and enterprising is developed. By the end of 2014, nuclear and radiation safety regulator has staff of 100 in the headquarter and 1,000 in branches at national level and nearly 10,000 at regional level.