Progress and Change in Nuclear Safety
Globalised Nuclear Sector Presents New Nuclear Safety Challenges
Experts from the International Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) met during the IAEA 53rd General Conference. (Vienna, 14 September 2009. Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)
An increasingly globalised and multinational nuclear sector is presenting an evolving set of safety and security challenges, said experts from the International Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) today at a Forum held during the IAEA 53rd General Conference.
Opening the Forum, Richard Meserve, Chairman of INSAG, remarked that while safety performance has been strong in recent years, the nuclear sector is going through a period of transformation and although safety performance has been robust, this attention to detail must be maintained in coming years.
"The nuclear world is changing, and this poses safety challenges," he said.
During the Forum, which was dedicated to Responsibility for Safety in a Globalized Nuclear Environment, speakers identified challenges which deserve further consideration. These include: states embarking for the first time on a nuclear power programme - the so-called nuclear newcomers; an anticipated flurry in construction occurring simultaneously around the globe and an increasingly globalised nuclear industry; an emerging need for the security regime to match the existing safety regime because of the growing terrorist threat to nuclear material and installations; and a generation of ageing nuclear power plants which could have their lifespans extended well beyond 60 years.
In INSAG´s official letter to the IAEA Director General, Mr. Meserve said, "Regulators and operators should be prepared to modify practices to which they have long been accustomed to meet the special needs of an increasingly geriatric population of nuclear plants."
Each year, INSAG issues a letter to the IAEA Director General on current nuclear safety issues.
During the Forum, the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of approximately 30 countries planning to embark on a nuclear power programme in the near future, and its nuclear safety initiatives were discussed.
Calls for the nuclear sector to move to a system allowing for the standardization and harmonization of safety regulations were also discussed.
INSAG includes high-level officials from 15 countries and organizations. The group is composed of experts with high professional competence in the field of safety working in regulatory organizations, research and academic institutions and the nuclear industry.
It is convened under the auspices of the IAEA with the objective to provide authoritative advice and guidance on nuclear safety approaches, policies and principles for nuclear installations. In particular, INSAG provides recommendations and opinions on current and emerging nuclear safety issues to the IAEA, the nuclear community and the public.
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