No other sector is regulated this strictly. The nuclear power plants undergo on average about 50 independent audits every year, which means almost one audit per week. The reports are often public. National and international nuclear experts confirm that the Belgian nuclear power plants are safe.
Inspection of the Belgian nuclear power plants is the responsibility of the Belgian nuclear regulator, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC), a public institution under the tutelage of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The FANC ensures that the population and the environment are effectively protected from the risks of ionizing radiation. Its technical branch Bel V has a permanent presence on the sites of Doel and Tihange.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an independent intergovernmental organisation of the United Nations. It develops standards for nuclear safety and the protection of humans and the environment from ionizing radiation. The IAIE establishes international teams which examine documents and assess on site how the safety of nuclear installations is effectively ensured in practice. This is done through the OSART missions (Operational Safety Review Team) and SALTO missions (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation). The nuclear power plants at Doel and Tihange have already received visits from an OSART and a SALTO team on several occasions.
All nuclear operators in the world are enrolled in WANO (World Association of Nuclear Operators). This organisation, established after the events in Chernobyl, pursues the maximisation of the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants. The nuclear power plants at Doel and Tihange receive a team of international WANO experts every 4 years for a Peer Review, 2 years later followed by a WANO Follow Up. Each review results in suggestions to optimise the safety and performance of the nuclear power plants.
As a professional nuclear operator, Electrabel also has a strong internal audit organisation. It works independently and performs checks and reviews all year round. Thus Electrabel ensures that the installations, practices and safety culture comply with all the directives. The conclusions of the audits are also shared with the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control.