IAEA safety standards

The IAEA safety standards define the current international state of the art in science and technology and have been adopted by consensus of the Member States involved. They serve as a guideline for the development of national nuclear regulatory frameworks.

The Department of Nuclear Safety and Security of the IAEA is responsible, among other things, for the provision of the IAEA Safety Standards Series for the safety of nuclear facilities, the safety of radiation sources, nuclear material and radioactive substances, as well as the safe transport of radioactive material and radioactive waste management.

The safety standards comprise the following:


  • Safety Fundamentals [SF]
  • General Safety Requirements [GSR] (applicable to all facilities and activities)
  • Specific Safety Requirements [SSR] (applicable to specific facilities and activities)
  • General Safety Guides [GSG] (applicable to all facilities and activities)
  • Specific Safety Guides [SSG] (applicable to specific facilities and activities)


The Federal Republic of Germany fully participates in the further development of the international safety standards of the IAEA. The Federal Government supports the International Action Plan for the Development and Application of the IAEA Safety Standards, approved by the Board of Governors General Conference [1]. The IAEA safety standards reflect an international consensus on what constitutes a high level of safety for protecting people and the environment from harmful effects of ionizing radiation. The process of developing, reviewing and establishing the IAEA standards involves all Member States, many of which are represented on the four IAEA safety standards committees and the IEAEA Commission on Safety Standards.


Germany is represented in the relevant rulemaking bodies of the IAEA. Representatives of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) take part in the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) and its safety standards committee EPReSC (Emergency Preparedness and Response Standards Committee), NUSSC (Nuclear Safety Standards Committee), RASSC (Radiation Safety Standards Committee), WASSC (Waste Safety Standards Committee) and TRANSSC (Transport Safety Standards Committee). The BMU takes into account new findings from the participation of German representatives in the committees in the activities and practices related to the national regulatory framework.

These safety standards, however, do not constitute binding regulations for Germany, but have gained international importance due to the pooling of international findings and knowledge. Moreover, the nuclear regulatory authorities of several countries have declared parts of the standards as binding for them.

The BMU considers the work relating to the IAEA safety standards as an important tool for determining the requirements for risk prevention and risk reduction in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Germany and abroad and also with regard to the application of ionising radiation in medicine and industry. The standards of the IAEA contribute to defining the state of the art in science and technology.

The IAEA safety standards are currently being revised according to the specifications of the International Action Plan for the Development and Application of IAEA Safety Standards. Accordingly, the IAEA standards are to be reviewed about every 5 years for the need of updating and necessary developments to be ensured. Due to the need seen by the IAEA and the Member States to subject all IAEA safety standards to a review to determine the need for revision in the light of the Fukushima accident, the 5-year intervals are currently not applicable. All participating Member States absolutely agree that at least a review of the safety standards must take place now.

For more information on the development of the safety standards, please click here.


[1] Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation and Transport Safety and Waste Management, GOV/2004/6, IAEA Board of Governors, IAEA, Vienna 2004

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