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Press Release 2012/07

IAEA and WANO Mark Anniversary of Fukushima Accident, Increase Cooperation

5 March 2012 | Vienna/London -- Next Sunday, 11 March 2012, marks the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan. One year on, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) are increasing their mutual cooperation to maximise nuclear safety efforts around the globe.

The two organisations are revising their Memorandum of Understanding in light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident, and will be stepping up their efforts to share expertise and knowledge between operators and governments. There will be greater coordination between WANO peer reviews and IAEA OSART missions, in which international experts assess the safety of individual nuclear power plants, and discussions are under way to examine further areas to improve information sharing. This is in addition to the other work each organisation is doing to reinforce nuclear safety worldwide.

IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano said:

"The IAEA is delighted to strengthen its coordination and cooperation with WANO. One of the lessons of Fukushima is the need for strong and effective communication between governments, regulators and nuclear operators. The IAEA's Action Plan on Nuclear Safety underlines the need for all stakeholders to work together to put these lessons into practice as tangibly and swiftly as possible, to deliver concrete results. By working more closely together, we can help to ensure that practical experience is properly shared to reinforce nuclear safety everywhere."

Laurent Stricker, Chairman of WANO, commented:

"While the terrible events of last year had a major lasting impact on the industry, they have also served as the catalyst for huge change. WANO has shifted from primarily focusing on accident prevention, to an emphasis on both prevention and mitigation, and has redoubled its efforts to promote excellence in nuclear safety in each and every plant across the world. All nuclear plants have carefully analysed their ability to withstand and respond to both design basis and beyond design basis events since Fukushima, and improvements have already been made to severe accident management and emergency preparedness. This work will continue over the coming months and years."

Amano and Stricker agreed that further lessons would continue to be learned from the Fukushima accident, as they were from earlier accidents such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, and that strong cooperation between the IAEA and WANO would be a vital element in this process.

Notes to Editors

For further information, contact:

  • IAEA Division of Public Information
    Tel. [+43-1] 2600-21273
    press@iaea.org
  • Claire Newell, WANO Communications Manager
    Tel. [+44-0] 20 7495 9242
    newell@wanocc.org
  • George Felgate, WANO Managing Director
    Tel. [+44] 7796 144 311
    felgate@wanocc.org

About IAEA

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves as the world's foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology. Established as an autonomous organization under the United Nations (UN) in 1957, the IAEA carries out programmes to maximize the useful contribution of nuclear technology to society while verifying its peaceful use.
  • For more information on the IAEA, visit www.iaea.org.

About WANO

  • WANO is a non-profit member association established in 1989 by the world's nuclear power operators to exchange safety knowledge and operating experience amongst organisations operating commercial nuclear power reactors.
  • WANO members operate some 440 nuclear units in more than 30 countries around the world.
  • WANO works with members in pursuit of its mission: to maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants worldwide by working together to assess, benchmark and improve performance through mutual support, exchange of information and emulation of best practices.
  • WANO was modelled on the American organisation, INPO, which was formed after the Three Mile Island accident. INPO is a member of WANO and beyond that, the organisations work together to share programme resources and learnings.
  • For more information on WANO, visit www.wano.info.