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Key International Events Organized in First-Year Implementation of IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety

Emergency Preparedness

Experts gathered at an international meeting on enhancing transparency and communication effectiveness during nuclear emergencies was held in Vienna from 18 to 20 June 2012 to identify and analyse lessons learned during major emergencies such as the Fukushima Daiichi, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear accidents. (Photo Credit: D. Calma/IAEA)

After less than one year since its entry into force, the IAEA has made a concerted push for further implementation of its Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, particularly in areas of international cooperation and collaboration. The most tangible outcomes are a series of key, international events all aimed at strengthening the global nuclear safety regime.

So far in 2012, the Agency has organized and participated in the following meetings:

The International Expert Meeting on Reactor and Spent Fuel Safety in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, 19-22 March 2012, Vienna, Austria. The IAEA held an International Expert's Meeting (IEM) in order to review and analyse what is known to date about the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, to understand more fully its root causes and mitigate further accidents.

The experts' meeting provided a forum for discussion and exchange information in order to identify priorities and recommend further action to prevent accidents for different reactor types, in particular boiling water reactors (BWRs) and pressurized water reactors (PWRs), and spent fuel safety. The IEM specifically discussed matters of extended power loss and loss of heart sink, application of defence in depth; improvements to design and engineering of systems; structures and components vital to safety. The meeting's conclusions recommended areas of improvement based on peer assessment and stress tests.

Technical Meeting on Establishing, Developing and Maintaining Capacity Building in Member States, 17-20 April 2012, Vienna, Austria . The main focus of the meeting was the document entitled "Guidance and Methodology for Assessment of Capacity Building in Member States with Nuclear Power Programmes and Those Planning to Embark on such a Programme". The IAEA published the report in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident to provide guidance to its Member States with nuclear power programmes or those planning to embark on such programmes.

In addition to reviewing the document, the Technical Meeting provided a venue where Member States representatives could test and discus this methodology for assessment, and provide additional guidance for the implementation of the capacity building action included in the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

The International Experts' Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, held in Vienna from 18 to 20 June 2012, gathered experts on public communication to identify and analyse lessons learned during major emergencies such as the Fukushima Daiichi, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear accidents, as well as radiological incidents and natural catastrophes. The experts also discussed best practices to ensure that the public receives plain-language, actionable information during a nuclear or radiological emergency.

Workshop on the Highlights and Lessons Learned from EPREV Missions, 25-29 June 2012, Vienna, Austria. The IAEA organized this international workshop to highlight the lessons learned from Emergency Preparedness Review Missions (EPREV). EPREV is a service provided by the IAEA's Incident and Emergency Center (IEC) to evaluate the preparedness for nuclear and radiological emergencies in Member States.

The main purpose of the workshop was to gather information from Member States which have gone through a review process on their experience with EPREV missions. The workshop also explored ways to further improve the planning and implementation of future EPREV missions. The workshop summarized the highlights of EPREV missions implemented during the past 10 years, provided an evaluation of the relevant findings in statistical terms, and identified lessons learned.

Two more high-level events are scheduled for the remainder of 2012. These are:

International Experts' Meeting on Protection against Extreme Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Taking place from 4-7 September 2012, the International Experts' Meeting on Protection against Extreme Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant aims to share lessons learned from recent extreme earthquakes and tsunamis, including the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011. The meeting will explore recent technologies and results of on-going research programmes relating to site evaluation and NPP safety that aim to provide protection against earthquakes and tsunamis

The Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety. The Conference will take place 15 - 17 December 2012 in the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan and is expected to attract high-level representatives from IAEA Member States. Two technical experts' sessions will provide the opportunity for the international community to share knowledge and lessons learned from the Fukushima accident. The meeting aims to further enhance transparency and, through the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, to contribute to enhancing nuclear safety worldwide.

-- By Iulia Iliut, IAEA Division of Public Information