The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says its member nations have reported “significant progress” in nuclear safety in the past year, including assessments of safety vulnerabilities at nuclear energy facilities, emergency preparedness and response, and enhanced communications among member nations, international organizations and the public.
The IAEA’s assessment comes in a progress report on the agency’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which was unanimously endorsed last September as a follow-up to the Fukushima nuclear accident. The report will be presented at the organization’s annual General Conference in Vienna next month.
The report says in the last year the agency conducted internal reviews of the IAEA safety standards, which are widely used by regulators, operators and nuclear industries worldwide. It also notes that agency peer reviews of member nations’ implementation of the safety standards are being strengthened and focused to incorporate lessons learned from Fukushima and related areas such as accident prevention and emergency preparedness.
While progress has also been made to enhance the quality and transparency of public communications during emergencies, the report says continued improvement is necessary in this area.
Related activities to assess and implement nuclear safety measures under the IAEA Action Plan must continue, the report says. Some of these include the upcoming extraordinary meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the IAEA’s recently concluded inspection mission to Japan’s Onagawa nuclear energy facility. That mission noted that Onagawa survived the 2011 earthquake and tsunami “remarkably undamaged,” despite being closer to the epicenter than Fukushima Daiichi.