Nuclear industry news


Four Years of Progress: Action Plan on Nuclear Safety


At its meeting this week, the IAEA Board of Governors took note of Director General Yukiya Amano’s fourth and final annual report on the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.    


In his opening address to the Board, Mr Amano said that his “final annual report on the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety shows that progress continues to be made in improving nuclear safety throughout the world. Issues highlighted under the Action Plan will continue to be addressed through the regular work of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and other relevant departments.”



Control room of experimental high temperature gas cooled reactor at Tshinghua University, Beijing, China, June 2004. (Photo credit: P. Pavlicek/IAEA)


More than 1000 activities have been undertaken and implemented under the Action Plan, including international experts’ meetings, conferences, workshops and strengthening the IAEA safety standards.


Results achieved


The Action Plan has delivered concrete results, said IAEA Deputy Director General Denis Flory, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “I believe that nuclear power plants have already become safer as a result of the measures taken outlined in the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.”


The IAEA has conducted 15 expert missions to Japan with various objectives, including to review the medium and long term roadmap towards decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station units 1-4, the removal of spent fuel from storage pools and to review the management of contaminated water and waste. The IAEA has also provided support for the marine monitoring programme off the coast of Fukushima and radiation monitoring in Fukushima Prefecture.


One of the key lessons from the accident is the crucial importance of preparation in protecting vital safety systems - cooling, emergency power, emergency communications and control systems - against extreme events such as tsunamis, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes.


Since the accident, regulators and operators around the world have been reassessing the vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants to external events in their countries, conducting the so-called stress-tests and making the improvements where necessary.




The Action Plan defined a programme of work to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework. The Action Plan consists of 12 main actions related to: safety assessments; IAEA peer reviews; emergency preparedness and response; national regulatory bodies; operating organizations; IAEA safety standards; the international legal framework; Member States planning to embark on a nuclear power programme; capacity building; the protection of people and the environment from ionizing radiation; communication and information dissemination; and research and development.


Implementation of the Action Plan has resulted in better collaboration between Member States and relevant stakeholders. As a result of the Action Plan, the relevant IAEA safety standards have been reviewed and revised to reflect the lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the IAEA peer review services have been strengthened, and Member States have been encouraged to host regular peer reviews of their nuclear facilities.


Beginnings and Adoption


The Action Plan came about as a result of the Ministerial Declaration adopted by the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety convened by IAEA Director General Amano in Vienna in June 2011. The Ministerial Declaration requested Director General to develop a draft Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. The Action Plan was adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors and unanimously endorsed by the IAEA General Conference in September that same year.