Nuclear regulatory authorities decide on follow-up to the Fukushima Daiichi accident
The nuclear regulatory authorities of the G8, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) member countries and associated countries including Brazil, India, Romania, South Africa and Ukraine, met today in Paris to discuss insights gained in relation to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident and to decide on appropriate follow-up actions at the international level.
The Forum on The Fukushima Accident: Insights and Approaches constitutes an important step in the international efforts being undertaken to learn from, to share and to implement the lessons learnt as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. At the opening of the Forum, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, provided the key messages that the governments of 33 countries had agreed upon at the Ministerial seminar which took place at the OECD on the preceding day.
According to the Forum’s Co-chairs from France, the United Kingdom and the United States, “There have been excellent discussions today on ‘what we are learning’ and ‘what actions we are taking’. That being said, regulatory authorities recognise the ongoing seriousness of the situation at Fukushima Daiichi and the continuing efforts of Japanese workers and authorities. 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.”
Forum participants agreed on a number of priorities and recommendations in terms of collective learning, sharing insights and approaches, and implementation of what regulatory authorities have learnt from the Forum. The Forum’s full text of final conclusions and recommendations are available on the NEA website.
Highlights include the following:
In line with the communiqué of the G8 summit held in Deauville on 26-27 May 2011 and the Ministerial seminar held at the OECD on 7 June 2011, nuclear safety authorities aim to continue to secure the highest levels of safety through continuous improvement of safety. In this context, they remain committed to seek ways to continue making operating and new reactors even safer by learning from the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
Significant in-depth reviews and analyses of nuclear power plant safety have been or are being undertaken following the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The Forum participants invite all regulatory authorities responsible for nuclear facilities to launch similar reviews and analyses as soon as possible.
Regulatory authorities will continue to systematically advance the necessary knowledge needed for all plant designs and post-accident situations. 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.
Regulatory authorities will continue to increase their co-operation through the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) to improve the continuous release of reliable information they provide to the public and governmental institutions, both nationally and internationally. Further, they will reflect upon the adequacy and challenges of the tools currently being used to communicate openly and transparently with the public on accident severity, including the INES scale, a common tool defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).
Regulatory authorities also highlighted the need for an early response to the management of such accident situations.
Regulatory authorities stressed that the prime responsibility for nuclear safety rests with licensed operators. In this regard, they welcomed the commitments of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and its members to increase their efforts on nuclear safety through enhanced peer reviews, transparency and international co-operation among operators.
The NEA was recognised as providing an efficient expert network to ensure co-ordination among the regulatory authorities of NEA and associated countries and to disseminate nuclear safety best practices. Regulatory authorities have requested that the NEA standing technical committees, including the Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) and the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH), carry out additional technical analyses following this Forum and share the outcomes internationally..
The regulatory authorities of the G8, NEA member countries and associated countries stated their commitment to continue working together internationally. They believe that the current situation, although very unfortunate, will in time strengthen international nuclear safety. The IAEA Ministerial conference, to be held at the end of June, is the next important step of many that will enhance global nuclear safety.
NEA membership consists of 31 countries. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.