Second Nuclear Operating Organization Cooperation Forum Met During IAEA General Conference
Cooperation Forum, IAEA, 18 September 2012
19 September 2012 - The Nuclear Operating Organizations Forum held its second meeting on 18 September during the 56th IAEA General Conference. The Forum, which is related to the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, in particular to Action #5 on ‘Strengthening the Effectiveness of Operating Organizations’, attracted more than 70 delegates and other participants from Member States.
Mr Neil Wilmshurst, Vice President of the US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) chaired the Forum, and four keynote speakers from the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), France, Japan and the USA described the actions and plans which their organizations have been undertaking, following completion of stress tests or integrated safety tests.
“Operators play a key role in effective cooperation and interactions. They have the primary responsibility for nuclear safety on a daily basis”, said Mr Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Nuclear Energy Department, in addressing the Forum. “In the aftermath of a nuclear event, it is even more important that operators conduct robust reviews of their programmes and implement all necessary changes to enhance their facilities’ capability to withstand and respond to accidents, especially those involving multiple external hazards” Mr Bychkov emphasized.
“The IAEA safety fundamentals remain a sound basis for nuclear safety, if properly implemented”, Mr Vladimir Asmolov, President of (WANO), pointed out. He also stated that prevention systems and mitigation measures are equally important and that design safety features of nuclear power plants have to allow sufficient time for the operators to implement accident management actions.
Mr Neil Wilmshurst, Vice President of EPRI, introduced the diverse and flexible coping capability programme, or FLEX, which is being developed in US nuclear facilities as a framework in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident and as a basis for action. FLEX provides an additional layer of backup power after an extreme event, causing a prolonged station blackout by stationing vital emergency equipment in multiple locations.
Mr Takuya Hattori, President of the Japan Atomic Industry Forum (JAIF), emphasized that severe accident situations are preventable when the accident response system is prepared effectively in advance and when it takes into account all the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.
Mr Michel Debes, Head of the Generation and Engineering Divisions of EDF, France, and AREVA Vice President Mr Bertrand de L’Epionois presented the ‘stress tests’ results of French nuclear power plants. Future plants will have to be designed and operated with the objective of preventing any accident scenario that may lead to long term contamination of neighbouring areas. This goal should also be adopted for existing nuclear power plants. The speakers underlined the importance of the ‘Periodic Safety Review’ process (PSR) to ensure that the goal continues to be met as the nuclear power plant ages.
The keynote speakers recommended that the IAEA increases its interactions and strengthens its cooperation with nuclear power plant operators and other stakeholders in the nuclear industry, while recognizing the important role of operating organizations and other stakeholders in the development of safe and sustainable nuclear power plants.
The next Nuclear Operating Organizations Cooperation Forum will take place in 2013 during the 57th IAEA General Conference.