How to prevent accidents at NPPs?

The answer to this key issue on further development of nuclear power was discussed during the Round Table “Chornobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi: Impact on the World Nuclear Power”. The Ukrainian Nuclear Forum arranged the event on the eve of the date to commemorate victims of the Chornobyl accident. Nuclear experts and public representatives participated in the discussion.

The Round Table participants analyzed experience in mitigating consequences of the two most significant accidents in nuclear industry – at Chornobyl NPP (1986) and Fukushima-Daiichi (2011), shared opinions on the relevant steps to prevent such tragedies in the future and recommendations to improve nuclear and radiation safety.

The presentations emphasized the need to perform periodic safety reassessments of nuclear power plants, which is the key element of safety culture. The experts also pointed out the peculiar role of the independent and powerful regulatory authority with relevant legal and financial capabilities for the efficient implementation of its tasks.

Mykola Steinberg, moderator of the Round Table, said that the reassessment should focus on the events and conditions which NPP can withstand without significant radioactive releases, with a possibility to restore power production. It is also necessary to account for events and conditions which NPP can withstand without taking significant off-site emergency measures (for example, evacuation of the population).

The Round Table participants pointed out the importance of improving defense-in-depth at nuclear power plants, as it envisages the use of physical barriers to the spread of ionizing radiation and radioactive release to the environment. Appropriate and stable operation of each barrier contributes to the reliable and safe operation of nuclear power plants.

The Round Table participants concluded that the regulatory authority and operating organization should ensure the relevant level of nuclear and radiation safety, implementing experience gained during mitigation of the accidents, to ensure safe NPP operation and prevent accidents.

Website editorial staff 29/04/2014