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The IAEA is getting worried about nuclear safety, in view of climate extremes, and especially of earthquakes

New IAEA Publications Highlight Importance of Seismic Safety for Nuclear Power Plants, Ovidiu Coman, IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security,IAEA  25 Mar 21, 

The importance of withstanding earthquakes and their consequences has proven to be critical for the safety of nuclear power plants, and seismic re-evaluation has been identified as an important step towards reducing the risks facing these plants. After the Fukushima Daichii accident in 2011, which was caused by a tsunami following an earthquake, many countries performed comprehensive safety and risk evaluations of their nuclear power plants against external hazards.

The specific seismic risk for each nuclear facility is vital to identify when developing and implementing the safety requirements for these plants, and two recent IAEA publications provide assistance to national experts on implementing improved seismic safety.

The IAEA is contributing to continued enhancement of nuclear safety globally by promoting best international practices and experience. From this perspective, we should consider the increased likelihood of rare natural events, which have been more common in recent years, and postulate that they may occur during a facility’s lifetime,” said Greg Rzentkowski, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Installation Safety.

The IAEA’s Safety Report No. 103 Methodologies for Seismic Safety Evaluation for Nuclear Installations and TECDOC-1937 Probabilistic Safety Assessment for Seismic Events support implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards based on updated technologies and state-of-the-art practices. Both provide detailed technical guidance for the assessment of seismic safety for nuclear installations.

“Seismic hazard is a key contributor to overall plant risk evaluation. At the same time, observations regarding extreme seismic events are rather limited, and predictive models are subject to considerable uncertainties,” Rzentkowski said. “Yet, we have to anticipate such events and consider corresponding risks in the design process of nuclear power plants to ensure adequate protection of people and the environment.” ………………………

Dennis Henneke from the Chief Engineer’s Office of General Electric-Hitachi added: “The most advanced reactors, including small modular reactors, require either a design phase seismic PSA or a plant and site-specific seismic PSA. TECDOC-1937, when used in combination with other IAEA documents in this specialized area of nuclear safety, provides a comprehensive approach that can be used to support these advanced plant seismic PSAs. These documents fill a gap in the industry methodology.” ,,,,,,,,,

April 5, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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