Forum on the Fukushima Accident: Insights and Approaches
Key Concluding Messages
The NEA Forum on Fukushima Daiichi has formed an important part of the international effort being undertaken to learn from, to share and to implement the lessons learnt as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
It aimed at preparing future discussions at the international level, in particular the IAEA Ministerial Conference of 20 June, by providing recommendations on nuclear safety in light of the Fukushima event, as shared by the regulatory authorities of NEA member and associated countries.
1. In terms of collective learning
- The Forum has highlighted the fact that much in-depth review and analysis of plant safety has been carried out to date by the regulatory authorities of NEA member and associated countries following Fukushima. We invite all regulatory authorities responsible for the oversight of nuclear installations to launch similar reviews and analyses as soon as possible.
- There have been excellent discussions today on “what we are learning” and “what actions we are taking”. That being said, further follow-up actions will continue to be taken and the Forum has focused our attention, as regulatory authorities, on these key issues and priorities.
- In light of the Fukushima nuclear accident, and the fundamental basis for sustained high standards - continuous improvement - we remain committed to seek ways to make operating and new reactors even safer by learning from what has happened.
- It is important to note that regulatory authorities are still learning from this accident and the ongoing situation as more information is gained from the Japanese authorities and international organisations. We have already started implementing the lessons learnt and will continue to do so within our domestic regulatory systems in a continuous manner, since the completion of the overall assessment of this accident may take years.
- National experience feedback and practices provide valuable knowledge that needs to be shared both nationally and internationally. We are committed to enhancing our co-operation in a timely and transparent manner and encourage the nuclear industry to do so as well.
- The ability of regulatory authorities to provide comprehensive information in a transparent manner to the public and governmental institutions both nationally and internationally is a real challenge. We are committed to sharing our experience in order to improve our policies in that field and to identify areas for co-operation.
- This Forum highlighted the need for a proactive focus on safety culture by all parties: operators, regulatory authorities and international organisations.
2. In terms of sharing of insights and approaches
- This Forum provided an excellent example of international co-operation in which the community of nuclear regulators comes together to share insights and approaches with the international community.
- The Forum allowed us to identify the priority areas that need to be addressed together as we move forward. We are committed to continuing to systematically advance the necessary knowledge needed for all plant designs and post-accident situations. Some of these priority areas include extreme external natural events and resilience to external shocks, including combined risks, plant design and the ability of safety systems to withstand severe accidents, emergency response and management capabilities, crisis communication, and site recovery plans and their implementation.
- During this Forum several approaches were presented, all promoting continuous improvement of nuclear safety by carrying out targeted or comprehensive safety assessments of nuclear installations. These assessments address a range of issues in an independent and transparent manner.
- The need to improve communication and transparency, especially during a crisis, was identified as an important area on which to focus lessons learnt efforts. Further, we need to reflect upon the adequacy and challenges of the current tools that we are using to communicate openly and transparently with the public on accident severity, including the INES scale, a tool developed by the NEA and IAEA.
- It is important to assure the international community that the regulatory authorities of NEA member and associated countries are sharing information and working together to ensure the continued safe operation of nuclear plants today and into the future, and that they will work towards improvement of their practices and of the international nuclear safety framework as required, in order to address lessons learnt, to improve them further and to avoid complacency.
3. In terms of the implementation of lessons learnt
- We will strive to harmonise the national approaches being considered by NEA member and associated countries to incorporate the lessons learnt from the Fukushima accident.
- The NEA framework provides an effective expert network which is able to work efficiently and to ensure co-ordination between the regulatory authorities of NEA member and associated countries. According to the future priorities to which we collectively agree, we expect the NEA standing technical committees to carry out additional technical analyses following this Forum and to share the outcomes internationally.
- We are ready to use the NEA framework for the continued monitoring and follow-up of the activities stemming from the lessons learnt from the Fukushima accident, mindful that the IAEA is bringing countries together to address lessons learnt and that duplication of effort should be avoided. This will ensure that the regulatory authorities of NEA member and associated countries come together on a periodic basis to review how the lessons learnt have been implemented and if needed, to propose additional work based on further knowledge gained from the accident.
- Further, the national and regional common approaches discussed at this Forum and all proposals expressed should be used as input to the discussions and as appropriate, to influence and upgrade the programmes of work of other international bodies such as the IAEA, in the perspective of the Ministerial Conference on 20 June 2011. In particular:
- For the NEA and related activities such as the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP), these insights can influence the development of further best practices to ensure the long-term safety of our plants.
- Initiatives aimed at improving the implementation of the IAEA safety standards, and allowing an optimisation of IAEA instruments (i.e. IRRS, OSART) should be strongly supported.
- National, regional and international initiatives on safety objectives for new reactors should be considered as far as they can provide substantial improvements of nuclear safety for new builds in light of Fukushima.
- During this Forum we also highlighted the need for an early response for the management of such accident situations and for the early and continuous release of reliable information. Possible routes, such as regional/international resource pooling, have already been identified and should be developed within international bodies or organisations.
- A particular effort of co-ordination and consistency among all international bodies and organisations is also expected. That being said, we, as regulatory authorities from NEA member and associated countries, are ready to share our work internationally and to encourage the nuclear industry to do so.
- Regarding the nuclear industry, the regulatory authorities stress that operators of nuclear installations have the prime responsibility for nuclear safety, and have a key role to play in order to improve nuclear safety at the international level. Therefore, the regulatory authorities very much welcome the declaration from the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and its members to commit themselves to such an improvement, notably through renewed peer reviews, enhanced international co-operation among operators and a more ambitious transparency policy.
- It is important to note that this Forum was held soon after the G8 declaration in Deauville, which makes nuclear safety one of the main international priorities, and was combined with a Ministerial meeting organised on 7 June by the French Government, currently chair of the G8-G20, and the NEA. Clearly, all countries at the highest levels of government are committed to ensuring the safe operation of nuclear plants well into the future.
- The regulatory authorities of NEA member and associated countries are committed to continuing to work together internationally. We also believe that the current situation is a unique opportunity to enhance the international nuclear safety framework, and are ready to consider improvements to the legal international frame in order to increase the use of international tools and safety standards, recognising that the prime responsibility for safety rests with the operator and the country in which it operates. Notably, we welcome the special meeting of contracting parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, and encourage any improvements to the relevant international conventions as needed.
Last reviewed: 28 June 2011