Safe Nuclear Installations for a Safer Future

More than 130 participants from 40 countries and six regional and international organizations, took part in the Conference. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Nuclear safety experts wrapped up their conference on Nuclear Installation Safety: Defence In Depth (DID) at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria on 24 October 2013. More than 130 participants from 40 countries and six regional and international organizations, took part in the Conference organized by the IAEA and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA).

Defence In Depth aims to provide layers of protection to workers, public and the environment. It is fundamental to the safety of nuclear installations and should be implemented during all stages of life cycles, from the design phase through operation and eventual decommissioning. Experts discussed international nuclear safety efforts, by reviewing current approaches and identifying future approaches in nuclear installations and its associated challenges. They focused on operating nuclear installations, including nuclear power plants, research reactors and fuel cycle facilities. Currently, more than 430 nuclear power plants operate in 30 countries, providing approximately 16 percent of the world's total electricity.

"The nuclear community has made significant progress in examining many DID-related safety matters, aimed at improving nuclear safety in general," said Denis Flory, Deputy Director General in the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. "While substantial efforts and resources have been invested to gain an understanding of what happened and why in the Fukushima Daiichi accident and much progress has been made, additional lessons learned will need to be taken forward," added Flory.

The experts concluded that national regulatory authorities need to strengthen and apply the DID concept to maximize the safety of power plants; and periodic safety reviews should be carried out across the entire life cycle of the installations. Experts also said there is a need to take full advantage of the IAEA review services, especially those related to siting, design and emergency preparedness.

"The participants shared actively and openly their concerns. There is a real strong need for regulators to improve nuclear safety at plants in light of the Fukushima Daiichi accident," said Philippe Jamet, Commissioner of the French Nuclear Safety Authority and the Conference President.

Conference participants also illustrated challenges facing DID and proposed a joint IAEA-WANO peer-review service. The joint review service will apply the same DID concept and involve all stakeholders such as operators, regulators and industry.

The IAEA, upon request, helps Member States enhance nuclear safety by facilitating development of international legal agreements, developing safety standards, offering international expert review and safety services as well as fostering scientific research, technical cooperation and information exchange.

Last update: 1 November 2014