Article Brazil: New Law Creates National Authority on Nuclear Safety

On October 18, 2021, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro promulgated Law No. 14,222, of October, 15, 2021 (Lei No. 14.222, de 15 de outubro de 2021), which established the regulatory body of the National Authority on Nuclear Safety (Autoridade Nacional de Segurança Nuclear, ANSN). The ANSN will monitor, regulate, and investigate issues pertaining to nuclear safety and radiological protection. (Law No. 14,222, art. 1.) The ANSN will take over the regulatory functions of the National Commission of Nuclear Energy (Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear, CNEN). According to the government of Brazil, allocating the functions of regulation, oversight, and licensing to the ANSN will facilitate the accomplishment of certain goals and management expectations related to nuclear safety. CNEN will continue to focus on nuclear energy research and development.

Under Law No. 14,222, the ANSN has financial, technical, and administrative autonomy from CNEN. (Art. 1.) The ANSN will be responsible for monitoring, regulating, and inspecting nuclear activities, materials, and facilities to ensure nuclear and radiological safety. (Art. 2.) As one of its main responsibilities, the ANSN will establish regulations and safety procedures for the use of nuclear materials and operation of nuclear facilities. (Art. 6(I).) Also, the ANSN will oversee the granting of licenses and permits to organizations involved in trading, importing, exporting, or transferring nuclear materials. (Art. 6(III).) In addition to other responsibilities related to issuing licenses or authorizations, the ANSN will select the sites for and approve the construction and operation of new nuclear facilities, as well as the decommissioning of other facilities. (Art. 6(V)(a).)

The ANSN will also impose sanctions on organizations for administrative infractions related to the violation of nuclear and radiological safety regulations. The sanctions applied will be based on the level of damage or risk caused to individuals, property, or the environment. (Art. 12.) Administrative infractions include failing to submit documents detailing the production and distribution of nuclear materials and neglecting to provide information about nuclear facility activities. (Art. 13(II, III).) Sanctions include fines and temporary suspension of nuclear facility functions. (Art. 14.) Organizations with the most serious infractions may have their licenses revoked. (Art. 24.)

The ANSN also has the authority to impose measures to prevent any accident or damage involving nuclear or radioactive material. These measures include suspending nuclear facility functions and seizing materials and equipment. (Art. 19.) The ANSN will also orient and collaborate with federal, state, and municipal public officials to develop emergency plans in the case of nuclear or radiological accidents. (Art. 6(XI).) Collaboration between the ANSN and international and foreign regulatory organizations may occur to shape regulations on nuclear safety, radiological protection, and control of nuclear materials. (Art. 6(XVII).)

The Board of Directors of the ANSN will establish specific guidance on the ANSN. The Brazilian Navy, however, is responsible for regulations, licenses, inspections, and control of nuclear material onboard naval vessels. (Art. 7.) This material includes the transport and use of nuclear fuel. (Art. 7(II).)

Prepared by Elizabeth Marin, Law Library intern, under the supervision of Eduardo Soares, Senior Foreign Law Specialist

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