France-NEA meeting examines Fukushima

14 June 2011

The government of France and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency have met to discuss the implications of the Fukushima Daiichi event for nuclear safety.

“We cannot continue to think the way we did before Fukushima," said Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing. "What we have learned from this disaster, and what we must remember, is that one accident at a nuclear power plant is enough to create grave and irreversible consequences for man and the environment. It is essential to improve co-operation on nuclear safety in the civil sector, on the international level, as it is not yet at its best possible level. It’s the challenge driving this event.”

Kosciusko-Morizet requested the IAEA to review its safety standards in light of the Fukushima accident and to ensure their proper application. In particular, as requested by the G8, the IAEA is invited to review its standards on the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in seismic zones.

Participants proposed developing emergency intervention teams and providing for the international sharing of safety and assistance mechanisms.

In addition, regulators said they will examine 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), and will consider tools currently being used to communicate openly and transparently with the public on accident severity, including the INES scale.

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 IAEA Ministerial conference, to be held at the end of June, is the next important step of many that will enhance global nuclear safety.




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