Enhancing the Environmental Component in the New Nuclear Power Programmes
28 March 2012 - Environmental protection is an important aspect in deploying new nuclear power programmes. Environmental issues are often directly related to public perception and acceptance of these programmes.
As national practices and knowledge in tackling environmental issues may vary greatly, the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Group (INIG) organized a Technical Meeting last week to help nuclear "newcomers" build capacity in this area.
Thirty representatives of more than twenty Member States discussed the current environmental issues they face in their nuclear power programmes, their experiences in overcoming them and future challenges that need to be addressed.
"Newcomer countries are showing a strong interest in ensuring environmentally sound nuclear power deployment in their respective countries" noted Anne Starz, Group Leader of INIG. "But we also see much support of experienced nuclear countries for this topic", she added.
The meeting also discussed, and commented on, a planned IAEA report on environmental issues in nuclear power programmes, drafted by a group of external experts. The objective is to harmonize the processes for environmental protection in Member States.
IAEA guidance on the topic will be beneficial in forming a common approach among Member States and facilitating the implementation of an appropriate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) framework.
"It is very useful to have a common view on the development of an Environmental Impact Assessment" stated Ms Karine Perche of Electricite de France (EdF). To achieve this, the report will acknowledge good environmental practices, and also address issues such as stakeholder involvement and contracting for nuclear power plants.
Following the detailed comments given on the draft report by the MS representatives, Ms Melissa Dubinsky, USA, who chaired the meeting, recognized that "the input from many perspectives is important in strengthening the usefulness of this IAEA guidance document".
"In contrast to safety, newcomer Member States have so far not been offered an insight into the environmental aspects of nuclear power", observed Ms Unver from the Turkish regulator TAEK. Thus the participants recommended that the IAEA organizes similar meetings on environmental regulations, environmental monitoring and preparation of environmental impact assessments.
The Technical Meeting on Environmental Issues in New Nuclear Power Programmes was held at the IAEA on 20-23 March 2012.
Please contact Integrated Nuclear Power Infrastructure Group - Contact Point if you have any questions.