Wednesday, June 01, 2011

IAEA Update on Trip to Japan

image IAEA’s team of nuclear experts has a preliminary assessment available on Fukushima-Daiichi and Japan’s overall response to the accident. There are some good nuggets and takeaways from their experience. Below are a few of the team’s preliminary findings and lessons learned:

- Japan's response to the nuclear accident has been exemplary, particularly illustrated by the dedicated, determined and expert staff working under exceptional circumstances;

- Japan's long-term response, including the evacuation of the area around stricken reactors, has been impressive and well organized. A suitable and timely follow-up programme on public and worker exposures and health monitoring would be beneficial;

- The tsunami hazard for several sites was underestimated. Nuclear plant designers and operators should appropriately evaluate and protect against the risks of all natural hazards, and should periodically update those assessments and assessment methodologies;

- Nuclear regulatory systems should address extreme events adequately, including their periodic review, and should ensure that regulatory independence and clarity of roles are preserved; and

- The Japanese accident demonstrates the value of hardened on-site Emergency Response Centres with adequate provisions for handling all necessary emergency roles, including communications.

Worth noting, here’s what the more-detailed report (pdf) said in a sentence by itself on page 3:

To date no health effects have been reported in any person as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident.

There are definitely some good observations from this first cut, look for their final report later this month.

Picture of the IAEA folks at Daiichi from their Flickr page.


Anonymous said...

The comment about "no health effects having been reported as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident" makes me wonder. Wasn't there a story about two workers stepping in water in a flooded building and being rushed to a hospital? Isn't that enough to make the above statement false?

If they only meant members of the public at large they should have explicitly stated that assumption. The public really latches on to any apparent inconsistency and uses it to justify questioning everything the industry says.

Sanatanan said...

I feel that the IAEA Fukushima Fact-Finding Team's report is a tad too generous in paise. I wonder whether this could partially be because Mr. Yukiya Amano, the Director General, is from Japan.

Anonymous said...

Those employees exposed to the flooded building water were "rushed" to a hospital to be checked out and examined for effects of an extremity (feet and lower leg) shallow dose overexposure. It was estimated they have have received in the range of 1-2 Sv of exposure to the skin. They were released and sent home with no apparent ill effects. Shallow dose can cause things like erythema, which looks a lot like sunburn. If you even want to count it at all, that might only be considered a very minor health effect. I just got a bit of a sunburn last week mowing the lawn. Didn't make the papers...