Topical studies constitute a major component of the IRS activity. They are
intended to release the latent benefit from the IRS data by in-depth evaluations.
Identification of topical or generic issues begins with national assessments
which are then studied in depth by experts at the international level. National
nuclear event reporting systems share lessons among regulators, operators
National nuclear event reporting systems share lessons among regulators,
operators and manufacturers.
National co-ordinators meet each year to review the information received
and the operation of the system in general. The committee of national co-ordinators
selects for further analysis topics and reports of those events which it considers
to be of particular safety interest to the international community. Conclusions
of the committee are distributed to participating countries. Moreover, a joint
IAEA/NEA meeting to exchange information on unusual events is held annually.
These meetings serve to strengthen the mechanisms for the exchange of experience
in the assessment of incidents and in improvements made to reduce the probability
of similar events.
IRS reports are intended for restricted distribution because the system
is designed to be of value mainly to technical people working in the nuclear
power field. The information reported is not for general distribution. This
restriction encourages openness within the nuclear community and disclosure
of detail on incidents. However, steps are constantly being taken to ensure
and improve visibility and transparency of the IRS activity.
There is also an event reporting system operated by WANO (World Association
of Nuclear Operators). This is an e-mail system run by and for the utilities
who own and operate the power stations and has similar but not identical reporting
criteria to IRS, which is an intergovernmental system operated by IAEA/NEA
in collaboration with the national regulatory bodies of each country. As one
would expect there is some overlap between the two systems, with some events
appearing in both.