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IAEA Conference on Enhancing the Operational Safety of Nuclear Power Plants Starts in China


The IAEA’s Lydie Evrard, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, giving her opening address to the International Conference on Enhancing the Operational Safety of Nuclear Power Plants. (Photo: Chinese Nuclear Energy Association)

An IAEA conference on improving the operational safety of nuclear power plants started in Beijing today, to continue strengthening international collaboration and promoting ‘safety culture’ to further reduce risks of a nuclear incident. 

“Ensuring the safe and reliable operation of the existing nuclear power plants is a priority, to protect people and the environment,” said the IAEA’s Lydie Evrard, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security in her opening address. “It is also the foundation for the long-term safe development of the nuclear power industry and of new designs such as small modular reactors, that will contribute to realize the goal of tripling nuclear power by 2050 and NetZero,” she added. 

The chairman of the conference, EDF Chief Representative in China Fabrice Fourcade, spoke of how the nuclear industry will only meet its potential if it focuses on two things: safety and competitiveness. 

“Nuclear is a safe, efficient and low-carbon technology,” he said. “I echo the words of Ms. Evrard that the safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants, was, is and will remain the cornerstone for the long-term development of the nuclear power industry.” 

The conference will encourage the exchange of information about enhancing safety during commissioning, start-up and medium and long-term operation of nuclear power plants.  

Participants include representatives of new and existing nuclear plant operators, regulators, technical support organizations, construction companies and other similar organizations. The conference is being organized by the IAEA and hosted by the China Nuclear Energy Association and China’s Atomic Energy Authority. The conference is the fifth in a series of IAEA conferences on operational safety. 

The IAEA safety standards for nuclear and radiation safety include a range of safety standards on the commissioning and operation of nuclear power plants. These often form the backbone for national regulations of our Member States and are used as the basis for the Agency’s peer review and advisory services,” explained Evrard. 

“The IAEA’s safety peer review missions continue to highlight areas for further improvement such as further enhancements in safety culture – for example by providing an environment where safety concerns can be discussed in an open and transparent manner and resolved effectively,” she added. 

The conference will cover the role of strong leadership in enhancing safe operations and establishing a positive safety culture, opportunities and lessons learned from new plant construction and commissioning, the role of corporate oversight, the lessons learnt from the long term operation of plants, case studies and operating experience feedback.   

Alongside a range of technical sessions on the above topics, side events are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of both China’s membership in the IAEA and the establishment of the Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration. 

Last update: 17 Apr 2024

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