International Experts' Meeting to Discuss Protecting Nuclear Power Plants from Natural Hazards
The IAEA's Real Time Tsunami Forecasting System is now in development and could be used to alert nuclear power plant operators when a Tsunami may arrive and its wave height. (Photo: N. Bekiri/IAEA)
- Meeting Information
- IAEA Expert Team Concludes Mission to Onagawa NPP, Press Release, 10 August 2012
- International Seismic Safety Centre (ISSC)
- Site and Seismic Safety
- IAEA Safety Standards
- In Focus: IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety
- In Focus: Strengthening Safety at Nuclear Facilities
- IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security
- Listen to this story
This meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria from 4 to 7 September 2012. More than 120 experts and government officials from 37 countries, from regulatory bodies, utilities, technical support organizations, academic institutions, vendors and research and development organizations will participate in the meeting.
The IEM will discuss technical developments and research programmes in site evaluation and nuclear plant safety, particularly as they relate to extreme natural hazards such as earthquake and tsunamis.
The IEM will provide an opportunity to share lessons learned from recent extreme natural events, including the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011. This earthquake and associated tsunami affected the Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini, Tokai and Onagawa NPPs in Japan and triggered the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
This was the first NPP accident to arise from the combined hazards of ground motion and flooding. It highlighted the importance of preparing not only for a single external hazard, but also the combined effect of multiple external hazards, in the safety assessment of NPPs, and the measures for defence in depth.
The IEM will be chaired by Antonio Godoy of Argentina. The IEM will consist of a plenary session and four technical sessions dealing with seismic hazard, tsunami hazard, seismic safety and tsunami safety, respectively. The plenary session will include keynote presentations by the chairpersons of all the technical sessions. At the technical sessions, international experts will make presentations focusing on seven main thematic areas. These include: databases, hazard assessment, characterization of loading effects, event warning systems, safety assessment, protective measures and lessons learned.
There will be a closing session on the final day, when the Co-chairpersons of the technical sessions will present their conclusions. The Chairperson of the IEM will provide an overall summary of the meeting.
The IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, consisting of 12 actions and 39 sub-actions, outlines a programme of work to strengthen global nuclear safety. Activities include enhancing and strengthening IAEA expert peer reviews, developing more robust and effective national regulatory bodies, and strengthening emergency preparedness and response. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident highlighted the importance of protecting nuclear power plants against extreme natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
Valuable experience and many lessons have been and are being learned by Member States and operators in managing NPPs under adverse conditions. At the IAEA, seismic safety activities are coordinated through the International Seismic Safety Centre (ISSC). It plays a leading role in supporting nuclear safety globally. Its work and research on external events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and flooding offers the sound, scientifically-proven basis for the effective implementation of best practices in seismic safety.
The ISSC also compiles a data bank on external hazards and their impact on NPPs as a resource base for Member States. The latest addition to the data bank will be the findings from a recent seismic expert mission to the Onagawa nuclear power station in Japan.
-- By Rodolfo Quevenco, IAEA Division of Public Information