International Workshop to Enhance Nuclear Industry's
Preparedness for the Passage to the Year 2000 (Y2K)
regulators and operators, government officials, consultants and software
specialists from about twenty nations will meet in Ottawa from February
8 to 10, 1999, to review technical preparedness for addressing the potential
impact of the "millennium bug" (Y2K) on the safe operation of
A three-day international workshop,
organised by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD), will provide for a global dialogue
among the nuclear community on the management of this issue. The workshop
will be hosted by Canada’s national nuclear regulatory body, the Atomic
Energy Control Board (AECB).
Y2K refers to the potential for
problems that may be experienced by computers and related systems and
equipment when the date changes from December 31, 1999, to January 1,
2000, which computers may read to be the year 1900. Y2K presents many
challenges to government and industry world-wide, and the nuclear industry
is no exception. Computers have been integrated into nearly all aspects
of nuclear installations, and among the areas that could potentially be
affected are reactor fuelling and maintenance schedules, control and monitoring
systems, security and safety systems and other operations.
Nuclear regulators and operators have
been addressing the Y2K issue in a consistent and comprehensive manner
for several years, and installations are expected to be Y2K compliant
by mid-year 1999. Nevertheless, the NEA workshop is viewed as an important
step toward supporting the continued safe and reliable operation of nuclear
Toward this end, the workshop will bring
together experts from around the world to share information and knowledge.
Workshop sessions will focus on regulatory and industry strategies on
Y2K, the status of program implementation, corrective actions taken to
date, lessons learned, and the status of contingency planning. The international
and global implications of the Y2K issue will also be considered. By identifying
actual problems encountered, their safety importance, and how they are
being addressed, the workshop will provide participants with insights
on where efforts may need to be concentrated. A report on lessons learned
will be produced following the workshop.
Dr. Agnes J. Bishop, President of the
Atomic Energy Control Board, will deliver the opening address on February
8. The AECB was asked to host the workshop in part because Canada has
developed a unique expertise in assessing the safety and reliability of
computerized Instrumentation and Control systems for nuclear power plants.
Dr. Shirley A. Jackson, Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
will be the guest speaker at a dinner on February 9.
The NEA is a semi-autonomous technical
body within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Its objective is to contribute to the development of nuclear energy as
a safe, environmentally acceptable and economical energy source by fostering
co-operation among its 27 member countries from Europe, America and the
The workshop is an important element
of the comprehensive action plan developed by the NEA Committee on Nuclear
Regulatory Activities (CNRA) to help member countries deal with the Y2K
issue. The CNRA is an international committee of senior representatives
of national nuclear regulatory organisations, who meet at regular intervals
to exchange information and experience. The CNRA has also established
a network of national Y2K co-ordinators to facilitate the timely exchange
of information on compliance testing and actions taken by member countries.
Furthermore, an electronic "mail box" is being used to allow
NEA countries to share up-to-date information on potential problems. The
NEA has also established a direct link with the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) to ensure that information is available to non-member countries.
An information briefing by senior
conference officials will be held on Monday, February 8 at 10:15 a.m.
(Ottawa time) in the Sussex Lounge, Government Conference Centre, 2 Rideau
Street (Colonel By entrance), Ottawa. For information, contact Sunni Locatelli
at the Canadian Atomic Energy Control Board, by telephone at 1 (613) 996
6860, by fax at 1 (613) 992 2915, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.