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IAEA Reviews Operational Safety at Japanese Nuclear Power Station

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station in Japan. (Photo: TEPCO)

An international team of nuclear safety experts led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today completed an assessment of operational safety at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station in Japan.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) noted a series of good practices and made recommendations to reinforce some safety measures during the mission, which was held at the invitation of the Japanese Government.

The 14-day review, which began on 29 June, focused on safety measures that have to be in place regardless of whether the plant is operating.

OSART missions aim to improve operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance using the IAEA’s Safety Standards and proposing recommendations for improvement where appropriate.

The review at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa covered the areas of leadership and management, training, operations, radiation protection, technical support, operating experience, emergency preparedness and severe accident management.

The OSART team identified a number of good practices at the plant that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • Following the March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi NPP, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station has implemented comprehensive and robust defence measures against severe accidents, including added tsunami and flood protection as well as enhanced site and mobile back-up electrical power supplies, pumps and heat exchangers,
  • The plant carries out frequent drills in difficult conditions to ensure that all staff are well-prepared to deal with emergencies, and
  • The plant has established thorough control of all combustible materials to minimise the fire risk.

The team made a number of proposals for improvements to operational safety at the plant, including:

  • Systems that gather operating experience should be integrated, and the information collected through them should be used more proactively to enable the plant to exchange lessons with the rest of the nuclear industry,
  • Accident management guidance should cover all plant conditions, including potential events involving the spent fuel pools, and
  • The station’s emergency plans should be fully integrated and documented in a way that is clear and easy to use.

The team handed a draft of their recommendations, suggestions and good practices to the management of the station, which is operated by TEPCO. The draft and any factual comments made by the station management will be reviewed at IAEA headquarters and a final report will be delivered within three months to the station and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The team comprised 10 experts from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Sweden, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as well as two officials from the IAEA.

Background

General information about OSART missions can be found on the IAEA Website.

An OSART mission is designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety. It is not a regulatory inspection, nor is it a design review or a substitute for an exhaustive assessment of the plant’s overall safety status.

Last update: 26 July 2017

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