On 11 March 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the eastern coast of Japan. This caused the three operating units (units 1 to 3) at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to automatically shut down as designed and also resulted in the loss of off-site power. Units 4 to 6 were already shut down for maintenance outages, with unit 4 having been defueled in November 2010. The emergency equipment began operating with the emergency diesel generators as the power supply.
Policy actions necessary to ensure the security of supply of medical radioisotopes
On 28 April, the OECD/NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy adopted a statement calling on governments and industry to work together to implement fundamental changes in the molybdenum-99 supply chain to ensure long-term reliability of supply. It formally endorsed a policy approach to restructure aspects of the market that are currently functioning unsustainably and to promote an internationally consistent approach to ensure the long-term, secure supply of medical radioisotopes. Disruptions in the global supply chain over the past two years have had significant impacts on patients who have had important diagnostic tests cancelled or delayed.
Regulatory oversight of licensee use of contractors
Contractors have long formed an integral part of the resources available to licensees, particularly in relation to the design, construction, maintenance and modification of nuclear power plants. Indeed, contractors can be regarded as part of the licensee's team, bringing specialist skills and expertise, and additional manpower to particular tasks.
Reversibility and retrievability in radioactive waste management
Reversibility and retrievability (R&R) are concepts that have been considered for many years in radioactive waste disposal. Interest in R&R in geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel disposal has been increasing steadily since the late 1970s. In 2008, the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee, an international group of high-level experts with regulatory, industrial, R&D and policy backgrounds, concluded that: "… it is important to clarify the meaning and role of reversibility and retrievability for each country, and that provision of reversibility and retrievability must not jeopardise long-term safety."