Monday, April 25, 2011

The World and the Safety Agency

kanupp How’s the world coping?

Turkey:

Speaking about a trip to Ukraine last week to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and discuss nuclear security, Minister Taner Yıldız said: “Greenpeace members had a placard there, reading, ‘No to Chernobyl.’ I agree with that placard. Still, the correct one sign should have been, ‘No to Chernobyl, yes to Akkuyu.’”

Akkuyu is the town where Turkey will build its first nuclear energy plant.

Austria:

Austria's environment minister [Nikolaus Berlakovich] says safety tests for European nuclear power plants must be mandatory and take into account the possibility of plane crashes or terror attacks.

Austria has no plants of its own. I’d be surprised if European utilities haven’t taken these elements into account – American plants certainly have (see this page for answers on these and other myths about nuclear energy plants).

Pakistan:

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Monday declared the nuclear program of Pakistan as safe and secure and appreciated the obvious dedication to the safety and security of the regulators as well of operators…. Deputy Director General IAEA Denis Flory said the IAEA emphasizes the importance of national responsibility for security, which Pakistan takes seriously.

The story indicates that Florey was snagged while attending a conference there, so “IAEA declared” might be a little strong.

A little more from Florey:

When quizzed about the future of nuclear industry, after the Fukushima incident, Denis Flory said the future of nuclear industry is not written down.It will depend on the actions taken at national and international levels to strengthen safety, to harmonize the implementation of international safety standards and to build the confidence of society through transparency.

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The idea of international safety standards is taking hold in various quarters. Here’s a bit from an ABC News story:

Rather than observing, assisting and advising, an international agency needs to be created that can establish safety standards, inspect nuclear sites, and if necessary enforce compliance.

Authors Henry Bassman and Stephen Brozak, who work at an investment bank that deals mostly with biotechnology, think the new agency should borrow ideas from IAEA, NRC  and the Nuclear Energy Agency to develop its mission.

Partial measures will not increase the safety level of nuclear power facilities. Only a coordinated, global effort will provide individual nations, and the world as a whole, with an improved ability to prevent and withstand nuclear emergencies.

And here’s a group that puts their heft behind such an agency

Sixteen veterans of the nuclear industry and nuclear power regulation have called for tougher nuclear safety rules to be set and enforced worldwide, in a bid to prevent another severe accident such as those that befell Three Mile Island-2 in the US in 1979, Chernobyl-4 in the former USSR in 1986, and Japan's Fukushima-1 station this year.

This is certainly discussable – and will be, no doubt, at the June convention in Vienna (remember – no plants in Austria) - though I imagine issues of national sovereignty will weigh in.

And if you’re curious, here’s how Platts describes the gang of 16:

The signatories of the statement include nuclear regulators in the US, Russia and Ukraine who managed the aftermath of the TMI and Chernobyl accidents, as well as former regulators and safety experts from Spain, Sweden, France, India and South Korea. Several of them are or were members of the International Nuclear Safety Group, Insag, which advises the IAEA director general.

Pakistan’s Kanupp plant.

1 comment:

SteveK9 said...

Cooperation is a good idea, but I doubt that nations will give up sovereignty on nuclear regulation to an international safety panel.