The basic principle of nuclear energy legislation is that the use of nuclear energy must be in line with the overall good of society. The key regulations governing the use of nuclear energy, the monitoring of its use and nuclear safety are included in the Nuclear Energy Act and the Nuclear Energy Decree as well as in subordinate regulations issued by them, such as YVL Guides and regulations by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland (STUK). In addition to these, regulations applied to the use of nuclear energy are included e.g. in the Radiation Act.
In April 2018, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE) set up a working group to detect the deficiencies in the regulatory environment of investment activity of the National Nuclear Waste Management Fund and to execute the possible amendments. The term of the working group lasts until June 2019.
In November 2018 MEAE submitted a draft proposal on amending the laws on nuclear energy and security clearance. The pivotal objective of the proposal is to enhance nuclear and radiation safety by developing regulations on security arrangements. Proposal is planned to enter into force on 1 January 2020.
New radiation law (859/2018) entered into force in December 2018. Changes were also made to nuclear energy law at the same time. Nuclear Safety and Radiation Authority’s amendments on Regulation on the Safety of a Nuclear Power Plant (STUK/Y/1), Regulation on the Emergency Arrangements of a Nuclear Power Plant (STUK/Y/2), Regulation on the Safety of Disposal of Nuclear Waste (STUK/Y/4) and regulation on Exemption Values and Clearance Levels (SY/1/2018) also came into force in December 2018.
Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority's Regulatory Guides on nuclear safety (YVL Guides) currently in force were enforced in OL1 and OL2during 2015. YVL Guides will be enforced at the Olkiluoto 3 EPR plant unit primarily after the operating license for the plant unit has been granted. YVL Guides have been updated in 2018 and the amendments are in consultation process at the moment. They are planned to enter into force in 2019.
In addition, the Nuclear Liability Act concerns the liability the operator of a nuclear plant has in the event of a nuclear accident. A temporary amendment to the Nuclear Liability Act came into force as of the beginning of 2012. According to the temporary amendment, the plant operator's liability for a nuclear incident in Finland is unlimited but limited to a maximum amount of 600 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR), corresponding to EUR 700 million, for nuclear damage outside of Finland. The operator has to have insurance up to a minimum of 600 million SDR. The OL3 plant unit’s fuel was included in the nuclear liability insurance in autumn 2017 and primary neutron sources in December 2018.
The use of nuclear energy is subject to license. Applications for a decision-in-principle, construction license and operating license as well as the new, upcoming license for decommissioning a nuclear power plant are made to the Government. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland (STUK) is responsible for monitoring the safety of nuclear energy use, and it also supervises safety and emergency arrangements and nuclear material safeguards.