History of BNRA
1957In 1957 Bulgaria ratified the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and became one of the states-founders of this organization. This fact required the establishment of a specialized state body to co-ordinate the activities connected with the use of atomic energy in the country and in the international community. The Committee for Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy within the Council of Ministers was established by a Decision No: 603/4.06. 1957 of the Government. The controlling and co-ordinating activities of the Committee were directed towards the scientific research activities, medicine, industry and agriculture.Chairmen of the Committee during that period have been: Ivan Mihailov, Valko Chervenkov, Mincho Neychev, Ivan Popov and Nacho Papazov.
Five commissions are established to the CPUAE: for physical and technical sciences; for chemical sciences; for biological and agrobiological sciences; for medical sciences and energy. Thus, the CPUAE performs control and coordinating functions aimed at research, medicine, industry and agriculture. As a result of this radioisotope laboratories and sections at the Institute of Physics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Faculty of Physics of the Sofia University and other higher educational establishments and institutes were established in the country in a short time.
The physical startup of the Bulgarian research nuclear reactor took place. The fate of the IRT-2000 in those years was closely intertwined with that of the CPUAE. From 1957 to 1969 Deputy Chairman of the CPUAE is Acad. G. Nadjakov, Director of the Institute of Physics with an Atomic Research and Experimental Base within the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 1962, the research reactor briefly became an integral part of the CPUAE.
With the establishment of the CPUAE begins the edification of the regulatory framework for the use of nuclear energy. The first act in this area is a decision of the Council of Ministers to approve temporary regulations for work with radioactive isotopes, the procedure for planning, delivery, distribution and transportation of radioactive isotopes and the manner of reporting their movement in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.
CPUAE becomes part of the Committee for Scientific and Technical Progress and Higher Education. This plays a key role in the promotion and development of nuclear science and technology.
By Ordinance No: 31/15.03.1975 of the Council of Ministers the tasks of the Committee were supplemented by regulatory functions. The Committee was established as a state and public body to co-ordinate and regulate the implementation of the tasks of the peaceful use of atomic energy, the adherence to the rules for safe operation of the NPP and the implementation of the internal and external dosimetry control.
A Directorate on Nuclear Safety was established by Decree No: 1305 of the State Council. The regulatory activities of the Committee were supplemented with the control over the institutions and organizations operating nuclear facilities and using nuclear material.
The National Assembly adopted the Act on the Use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposesand established the new Committee on the Use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes within the Council of Ministers, comprising in its structure the Inspectorate on the Safe Use of Atomic Energy. Managerial staff from ministries and other institutions involved in the use of atomic energy was included in the committee staff.
Pursuant to the LUAEPP, to the Committee is established a separate fund “Nuclear Research and Nuclear and Radiation Safety”. The competitive principle has been introduced when applying for funding for research and development.
On 27 July 1995 the National Assembly adopted the Act on amendments and supplements to the AUAEPP from 1985. This Act regulated the free market rules in the use of sources of ionizing radiation, as well as established a fund “Safe Storage of RAW’ and a fund “Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities”. Two consultative councils were established within the Committee: the Council on the Safety of Nuclear Facilities and the Council on Radiation Protection. The national legislation was approximated in compliance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, the penalties for infringement of the regulations in the field of atomic energy were augmented.
On 22 August 2002 by a Council of Ministers decree the Committee on the Use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes (CUAEPP) is transformed into a Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) and the Rules for Procedure of the NRA are approved as well.The Council of Ministers appointed Dr. Sci. Prof. Emil Vapirev, who has been chairman of the CUAEPP as of November 2001, as chairman of the Agency. According to the Rules for Procedure of the NRA, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency is an independent specilaized body of the executive power, which exercises the state regulation of the safe use of nuclear energy and sources of ionizing radiation and the safe management of radioactive waste and spent fuel.
The new Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency Dr. Sergey Tzotchev was appointed by the Council of Ministers as of October 20, 2004.After 1973 chairmen of the CUAEPP have been: Stefan Vassilev, Kostadin Kostadinov, Ivan Pandev, Yanko Yanev, Luchezar Kostov, Vladimir Hristov, Gueorgui Kastchiev, Robert Poppitz, Emil Vapirev.
2010 – 2018
In order to achieve harmonization with the amendments in the legislation of the European Union and with the new standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), amendments to the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy (ASUNE) have been adopted. Changes have been introduced in the licensing and permitting regime for activities with sources of ionizing radiation in medicine and industry. A license for decommissioning of nuclear facilities is introduced to replace the decommissioning permit.Amendments and supplements to eight regulations have been made and three new regulations have been adopted – Regulation on the basic standards for radiation protection, Regulation on radiation protection in activities with materials with high content of natural radionuclides and Regulation on ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants, thus transposing Directive 2014/87/Euratom of 8 July 2014 amending Directive 2009/71/Euratom establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations as well as WENRA reference levels have been introduced.Pursuant to the ASUNE, a new Regulation on radiation protection has been adopted transposing Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom of 5 December 2013 laying down the basic safety standards for protection against the hazards arising from exposure to ionizing radiation. The three situations of exposure are covered – planned, existing and emergency exposure.The secondary legislation of the Council of Ministers have also been amended: Regulation on the procedure for issuing licenses and permits for safe use of nuclear energy; Tariff for fees collected by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency under the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy; Regulation on the Procedure for Payment of Fees under the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy.
2019 – 2021
One of the main highlights of the NRA’s activities in 2019 has been the renewal of the license for operation of Unit 6 of the Kozloduy NPP. The evaluations performed by the NRA experts, as well as the expertise of the submitted documents assigned to an external organization established that the necessary conditions for safe operation of the unit were met for the stated 10-year period and the license was renewed.The Agency also renewed the license of the State Enterprise “Radioactive Waste” for operation of a RAW management facility through a specialized division “PRRAW-Novi Han” valid until the end of 2025. From the beginning of 2020, the NRA experts are making efforts to complete the procedure for Bulgaria’s accession to the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). On January 30 of the same year an expert meeting between representatives of NEA and the NRA took place. As a result of the successfully completed process, Bulgaria received an invitation from the OECD and confirmed its membership to the NEA as of January 1, 2021.