National Nuclear Regulator

The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) is a public entity which is established and governed in terms of Section 3 of the National Nuclear Regulator Act, (Act No 47 of 1999) to provide for the protection of persons, property and the environment against nuclear damage through the establishment of safety standards and regulatory practices.

It is responsible for granting nuclear authorisations and exercising regulatory control related to safety over the siting, design, construction, operation, manufacture of component parts, and the decontamination, decommissioning and closure of nuclear installations; and vessels propelled by nuclear power or having radioactive material on board which is capable of causing nuclear damage.

The facilities and actions regulated by the NNR are diverse and includes the operation of nuclear power reactors, research reactors, nuclear technology applications, radioactive waste management, mining and processing of radioactive ores, users of small quantities of radioactive material, transport of radioactive materials, vessels propelled by nuclear power or having radioactive material on board and to any other actions capable of causing nuclear damage to which the National Nuclear Regulator Act applies.

The National Nuclear Regulator Act gives the NNR powers to grant, amend and revoke authorisations, and to impose such conditions upon authorisation holders as it deems necessary. It establishes the basis for regulatory control by alluding to acceptable risk as the determinant. The legislation specifies that a holder of authorisation for any facility or activity that gives rise to radiation risks has the prime responsibility for safety and is liable for any nuclear damage caused by their facility or activities.


Mission & Vision

The mission of the NNR is to provide and maintain an effective and efficient national regulatory framework for the protection of persons, property and the environment against nuclear damage. In pursuing this mission, the NNR is striving toward realising its vision of becoming an independent world-class regulatory authority on nuclear safety.



In carrying out its mandate, the NNR adheres to the values of Professionalism, Openness and Transparency, Integrity, Valuing People, Excellence, and Teamwork. These values serve as guiding principles on how the NNR reaches regulatory decisions, how it performs administrative tasks and how its employees interact with their fellow employees and other stakeholders.


Role & Functions

The NNR is primarily mandated to monitor and enforce regulatory safety standards for the achievement of safe operating conditions, prevention of nuclear accidents or mitigation of nuclear accident consequences, resulting in the protection of workers, public, property and the environment against the potential harmful effects of ionizing radiation or radioactive material.

To fulfil its mandate, the NNR advocates the development and maintenance of appropriate regulatory frameworks for enforcing regulatory radiation safety standards which are consistent with the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) and the International Atomic Agency (IAEA).

The NNR’s approach to regulatory functions is commensurate with the radiation risks associated with a specific facility or activity. These include functions such as safety case reviews and assessments, authorisations, compliance assurance inspections, enforcement, drafting of regulatory documents and overseeing emergency planning and preparedness.


ISTC & NNR Cooperation

On 22 February 2018 the Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the ISTC  and the NNR. This document lays the legal framework for existing and future joints action in the fields of nuclear safety, security and safeguards and the regionalization in Southern Africa and beyond of the results of their technical cooperation activities on the principles of equality and mutual benefit.

The Memorandum of Cooperation will foster and re-enforce collaborative activities such as scientific research, exchange of scientific and technological information and publications, participation in scientific fora, collaboration in implementing of relevant projects, assisting nuclear experts’ mobility and training in order to enhance achievements and expand outreach of relevant activities.

Several years ago, the NNR established the first Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Safety and Security(CNSS) in South Africa, in partnership with local and international academic institutions as well as other relevant stakeholders. The CNSS is the first applied research and training establishment designed to serve South Africa’s nuclear sector.It is precisely through CNSS that ISTC and NNR made the first steps towards mutually useful cooperation in the fall of last year.