to 400 participants from around the world gathered in Tokyo, Japan from
29 to 31 May under the auspices of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) to
discuss and exchange information on technical and regulatory issues relevant
to the safety of the nuclear fuel cycle. The workshop was held at the
invitation of the Science and Technology Agency (STA) and the Nuclear
Safety Commission (NSC) of Japan and the NEA is most grateful for all
of their efforts and those of all the organisations in Japan who contributed
to making it a success.
focused on criticality aspects, safety and regulation of facilities
and emergency planning, preparedness and management issues.
learned from operating experience provided a sound basis for the discussions.
Insights gained from the September 1999 JCO incident provided key elements
to participants on how to enhance safety in the nuclear fuel cycle.
the major conclusions reached during the workshop were:
have well-established, relatively mature and effective programmes
to protect workers and the public from accidents in nuclear fuel
cycle facilities. Many countries have performed programme reviews
since the JCO incident at Tokai-mura. No major deviations were found
although some areas of improvement were identified.
was recognised that the event at Tokai-mura was an anomaly. Approaches
being taken by Member countries in the regulation of fuel cycle
facilities to reduce criticality safety hazards are very similar.
Consideration of human factors and the need for passive safety system
features are very important.
is a need to have a strong safety culture in order to maintain safe
facilities and prevent accidents. This includes the recognition
that criticality events, while highly unlikely, can occur.
challenge of maintaining the competence of operators, managers and
regulators was recognised not only for fuel cycle facilities but
for the whole of the nuclear industry.
learned from international emergency exercises are very important
for planning and preparedness.
research for improving the dosimetry technology is required, and
quick analysis of the types of radiation exposure is necessary.
communication and organisational challenges are brought about by
quickly developing fire, explosion or criticality accidents. National
and local authorities should be prepared for such accidents as well
as larger ones at nuclear power plants.
endorsement is given to the efforts under way to develop an information
exchange system, similar to that used for the Year 2000 (Y2K), in
as timely a manner as possible. Such a system will enhance the international
exchange of information between experts regarding incidents at nuclear
facilities and enable them to assess possible consequences quickly.
the workshop were Dr. K. Uematsu, former Director-General
of the NEA and Dr. W. Travers, Executive Director for Operations
for the USNRC. Dr. Kanagawa, Commissioner of the Nuclear Safety
Commission of Japan and Mr. Echávarri, Director-General
of the NEA provided general remarks during the workshop.