The public and media now have access to information on the safety significance of events reported at nuclear installations across the globe.
"The Nuclear Events Web-based System" (NEWS) is an online information service that communicates reports by its 60 participating countries. Users include senior experts in regulatory authorities, utilities, nuclear facilities, and research institutions, as well as the media and the public.
Importantly, it gives the media and public a context for gauging the severity of the event by ranking events on a scale of 1(anomaly) to 7 (catastrophic accident). Previously only a restricted audience had access to the site, which on 21 January 2003 surpassed the milestone of 10,000 visits.
NEWS covers all significant events involving nuclear power plants, research reactors, nuclear fuel cycle facilities and occurrences involving radiation sources and the transport of radioactive material. The system is co-sponsored by the IAEA, Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).
The IAEA´s Dominique Delattre, who manages NEWS, said its purpose is to facilitate prompt communication on events that could affect the safety of nuclear installations. "By putting events into proper perspective, NEWS can promote common understanding about their importance among the nuclear community, the media and the public," he said.
The events are rated using the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), which was introduced as part of the international response to the Chernobyl accident. Also managed by Mr. Delattre in the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, INES was jointly developed in 1990 by the IAEA and the NEA.
Information shared in NEWS for the last six months is now available to the general public and includes event descriptions, INES rating and any associated press releases. To view NEWS, go to http://www-news.iaea.org/news/.