Safety For All: The New INSAG

by Richard Meserve & Kenneth Brockman

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The Top Five

  • Past INSAG Safety Reports
  • The IAEA has issued a collection of reports on nuclear safety under the INSAG framework. They include the world's first authoritative account of the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl, and an update issued in 1993.
  • Other reports have focused on topics including basic safety principles; safety culture; regulatory decision-making; knowledge management; safe management of radioactive sources; and the defence-in-depth approach to nuclear plant safety.
  • Many of the reports are issued in non-English language editions, including Russian, Spanish, and French, and can be downloaded on the Internet. For more information, check the Publications pages of the Agency's public web site at, and enter the word "INSAG" in the search function.

To date, INSAG has identified five issues that require the group's immediate focus and attention. First, at the request of the Director General, the Chairman of INSAG, with assistance from the group, will develop a periodic report presenting an opinion on the State of Nuclear Safety. It is anticipated that the first report will be available for the General Conference of the IAEA in September. Second, INSAG will consider the concept of a Global Nuclear Safety Regime, and the challenges arising from the international and intercultural aspects of today's nuclear industry. Third, the group will look at Safety Principles, seeking to determine how best to apply risk insights in the regulatory, design and operational decision-making processes. Four, INSAG will examine Operational Safety, a significant area of focus for the previous INSAGs. To properly serve the public, INSAG recognizes that it must consider whether the current fleet of nuclear installations have been designed and are being operated in a manner that ensures, to the greatest extent reasonable, the protection of the health and safety of the public and the environment. Finally, INSAG will consider how best to address the issue of Stakeholder Involvement. The Terms of Reference for the new INSAG have expanded its audience, and the group will focus significant effort on how best to involve all concerned stakeholders and how best to communicate with them.

The INSAG meets twice per year. However, the individual members work extensively on their own time during the intervening periods. Both individually, and as a group, INSAG seeks to ensure that all countries that choose the nuclear option have properly addressed safety issues. More importantly, INSAG stands ready to serve the world community as an authoritative adviser that is both technically competent and committed to the paramount importance of safety in nuclear facility design and operation.

INSAG's Chairman, Richard A. Meserve was appointed the ninth president of the Carnegie Institution in December 2002. He assusmed the presidency in April of 2003, after stepping down as chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Kenneth Brockman is Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Installation Safety. E-mail:[email protected]

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