Post-Fukushima nuclear safety plan needs more resources: IAEA head
Washington (Platts)--6Dec2012/613 pm EST/2313 GMT
The International Atomic Energy Agency's post-Fukushima Action Plan on
Nuclear Safety will require additional funding and expertise if the plan is
to achieve its objectives, the agency's director-general, Yukiya Amano, said
The action plan was adopted by a ministerial conference on nuclear
safety convened by Amano in June 2011, three months after the accident that
destroyed four of six reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima-1
nuclear power plant.
Full implementation of the plan is a "priority" for the IAEA, but peer
review missions to examine safety in countries with nuclear power programs,
reviews of their safety standards, and international expert meetings will
require additional personnel and financial resources, Amano said in response
to a question during his remarks at an event Thursday at the Council on
Foreign Relations in Washington.
So far, these activities have "mainly" been funded by contributions from
Japan, but that money is "running out," Amano said.
Also, additional support is needed from other countries because the
agency "cannot use Japanese funds" for activities such as preparing reports
on the Fukushima accident, as that would represent "a conflict of interest,"
Some countries have made available nuclear power experts, including
personnel from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to work on implementing
the plan, Amano said. Technical expertise in nuclear power, however, is "a
very scarce resource that is in demand everywhere," and the IAEA competes for
such experts with private industry, he said.
Amano appealed to all countries to provide more contributions.
The action plan comprises 12 areas for "main actions": safety
assessments, IAEA peer reviews, emergency preparedness and response, national
regulatory bodies, operating organizations, IAEA safety standards,
international legal framework, member states embarking on a nuclear power
program, education and training -- known as "capacity building," radiation
protection, communication and information, and research and development.
Gustavo Caruso, special coordinator for the agency's nuclear safety
action team, said in an interview in July that the IAEA has, as called for by
the action plan, organized two topical "international expert meetings," or
IEM, in Vienna to gather knowledge about the accident and its lessons. The
first, in March, covered nuclear reactor and spent fuel pool safety; the
second, in June, covered transparency and communicating in the event of a
nuclear or radiological emergency.
A third IEM, on protecting against earthquakes and tsunamis, was held in
September in Vienna. A fourth will be held in early 2013, covering
decommissioning and remediation after a nuclear accident, Caruso said.
The special meetings are designed to generate conclusions that can be
fed into the action plan to determine "the next steps," Caruso said.
He said further IEMs are already planned on regulatory effectiveness,
human and organizational factors, protection of people and the environment,
and "probably" on the international legal framework.
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