Security & Safety
The overarching lesson learned from the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan is that nuclear plant licensees and their regulators must “actively seek out and act on” new information and hazards that have the potential to affect the safety and security of nuclear plants, a book published by the US National Academy of Sciences says.
The book, ‘Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of US Nuclear Plants’, says licensees and their regulators must continually seek out new scientific information about nuclear plant hazards and methodologies for estimating their magnitude, impact and frequency.
Nuclear plant risk assessments must incorporate this information when it becomes available, the book says.
“Nuclear plans operate for many decades. Scientific understanding of hazards, especially hazards arising from natural external events, can advance substantially during extended periods.”
The book says the first Fukushima reactors were constructed in the 1960s when new concepts about seismic activity were just beginning to be understood, but when information about large earthquakes and tsunamis was still based largely on historical records.
Five decades later, advances in scientific understanding have enabled the development of new methods for estimating seismic and natural hazards. “Further substantial changes are likely in the decades ahead” and licensees and operators must actively seek out this information and incorporate it into their safety and security risk assessments.