National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control, Bucharest, Romania
In Romania, all operations in the nuclear field, including uranium mining and milling, are regulated by Law no. 111/1996 (republished in 1998), regarding the safe conduct of nuclear activities. These activities can be performed only on the basis of an authorization released by the national regulatory authority, i.e. the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control. The specific requirements which must be carried out by the owner of an operating licence for a uranium mining and milling operation are stipulated by the Republican Nuclear Safety Norms for Geological Research, Mining and Milling of Nuclear Raw Materials. These regulatory requirements have been in force since 1975. The regulatory norms include provisions that the effective dose limit for workers should not exceed 50 mSv/year and also that liquid effluents released into surface waters must have a content of natural radioactive elements that meets the standards for drinking water. The norms do not contain provisions concerning the conditions under which the mining sites and the uranium processing facilities can be shut down and decommissioned. The norms also do not contain requirements regarding either the rehabilitation of environments affected by abandoned mining and milling activities, nor criteria for the release of the rehabilitated sites for alternative uses. To implement the provisions of Council Directive 96/29 EURATOM in Romania, new Fundamental Radiological Protection Norms have been approved and will soon be published in the "Monitorul Official" (Official Gazette of Romania). One of the main provisions of these norms is the reduction of the effective dose limit for the workers to 20 mSv/year. Changes in the Republican Nuclear Safety Norms for Geological Research, Mining and Milling of Nuclear Raw Materials, are also planned; these changes will be consistent with the Fundamental Radiological Protection Norms. To cover existing gaps, the new norms for uranium mining and milling will include: (1) closure conditions for mines and processing facilities, requirements for the rehabilitation of environments affected by abandoned mining and milling activities and (2) criteria for the release of remedied facilities and materials for future use. In addition, the new Norms will contain more flexible provisions regarding the release of the liquid effluents from uranium mining and milling into surface waters. These provisions will link the permitted contents to the dose constraints and the category of the receiving water.
A.L. Rodna, N. Dumitrescu