IAEA calls for ‘commitment and vigilance’ on safety

10 April 2017

Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) highlighted the importance of sustaining and enhancing a nuclear safety culture, maintaining effective legal frameworks, and enforcing safety precautions within the supply chain following a two-week review of nuclear power plant safety. Their seventh review meeting was held from 27 March to 7 April at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, in Vienna.

The IAEA said on 7 April that, following intensive discussions and reflections on the national reports of nuclear safety programs from 79 countries, delegates at the meeting "identified and offered ideas to ensure achievement of high levels of safety". These included ideas to address financial and human resource constraints, safety concerns related to ageing nuclear facilities, and the need for harmonised cross-border emergency planning approaches.

In their summary report, released at the close of the meeting, the Contracting Parties also encouraged the IAEA to continue developing guidance to help countries strengthen regulatory body oversight and practice safety culture.

"Maintaining nuclear safety requires long-term commitment and vigilance from countries, as well as effective mechanisms for early detection and assessment of problems and networks for sharing lessons learned," said Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA deputy director-general and head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.

He said the need to maintain oversight of the supply chain to ensure safety was a common issue both for countries operating nuclear power plants and those considering nuclear power programs, "because of the lack of availability of identical replacement parts and the need to be able to detect non-conforming, counterfeit, suspect or fraudulent items". And with the number of nuclear-grade certified suppliers "diminishing", he said, access to manufacturers able to meet nuclear standards will become more challenging.

The Convention entered into force on 24 October 1996, setting international benchmarks in the areas of nuclear installation siting, design, construction and operation, as well as financial and human resources, safety assessment and verification, quality assurance and emergency preparedness. The CNS Contracting Parties hold review meetings every three years.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News