The UN High-level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be held on September 22nd on the sidelines of the 66th UN General Assembly in New York. On May 20, 2011, Secretary-General Ban launched a UN-wide study on the implications of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that will be presented at the upcoming Meeting and released to the public.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has obtained a copy of the report. Below are excerpts of the relevant sections on nuclear safety-security:
UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM-WIDE STUDY ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE ACCIDENT AT THE FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (SG/HLM/2011/1)
>> Nuclear safety and security
>>1. Role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in nuclear safety and security
>>Specific issues relevant for consideration by Governments
>>72. IAEA is an independent intergovernmental, science and technology-based organization in the United Nations system that serves as the global focal point for nuclear cooperation. Nuclear safety and security have a common purpose, which is to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.
>>The central role of IAEA with respect to nuclear safety and security is set out in its Statute and enshrined in decisions and resolutions of its policymaking organs. IAEA develops nuclear safety standards and, based on those standards, promotes the achievement and maintenance of high levels of safety in nuclear energy applications. It also offers specific review services to determine how the standards are being applied. Guidance on public and occupational radiation protection for a wide range of exposure situations, including nuclear emergencies, is provided in the IAEA International Basic Safety Standards for Protection Against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources and related documents.
>>73. IAEA supports global efforts to make nuclear and other radioactive material secure through the provision of guidance documents and services and helps States to establish comprehensive national nuclear security regimes. It works to provide a strong, sustainable and visible global nuclear safety and security framework.
>>Implications of the Fukushima accident and the impact of major nuclear accidents
>>74. The Fukushima Daiichi accident had an adverse impact on public perceptions of the safety of nuclear power throughout the world. In particular, the accident and international response raised questions concerning the adequacy of international safety standards and conventions and the extent of adherence to them, the global emergency preparedness and response system and the effectiveness of national regulatory bodies. Some countries re-examined their plans to introduce or expand nuclear power programmes or extend the operating life of existing nuclear plants.
>>The following areas may be affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident:
– Science and technology, including safety engineering, design against onsite and external natural hazards, mitigation and recovery systems and radiation protection in severe accidents
– Managerial, human, organizational and national infrastructure, including emergency preparedness and response, severe accident management, regulatory frameworks, technical support organizations and national resources
– Public communication, transparency and international cooperation
>>Trends and developments
>>75. Over the past two decades, there has been a clear trend towards strengthening nuclear safety regimes. International cooperation has increased and countries considering the introduction of nuclear power programmes have been encouraged to apply IAEA safety standards and relevant international instruments. Other developments have included increased regional harmonization and cooperation, steadily improving safety performance indicators, an increase in the number of countries considering embarking on nuclear power programmes, the extension of the service lives of existing plants, greater openness and transparency and increased synergy between safety and security. There has also been an increasing number of requests for IAEA expert peer review services in areas such as regulation, operational safety, emergency preparedness and security, as well as a greater focus on issues such as safety management and leadership.
>>76. The trend towards longer service lives of nuclear plants brings its own challenges, such as ensuring that safety margins remain adequate. The extension of the lives of existing nuclear plants and the expansion of nuclear power programmes are also placing an increasing strain upon the limited human resources available to design, construct, maintain and operate nuclear facilities.
>>77. A preliminary assessment of the Fukushima Daiichi accident has already identified plant design, international response arrangements and implementation of international safety standards as areas where further development is needed. A continuing trend towards increasing international cooperation, openness and transparency will undoubtedly assist countries in responding effectively and learning the necessary lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
>>78. In the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, held in Vienna in June 2011, a number of measures were set out to improve nuclear safety and a firm commitment was expressed to ensure that those measures are actually implemented. The importance was reiterated of universal adherence to the relevant international instruments on nuclear safety, as well as the need for their effective implementation and continuous review. The importance was also emphasized of enhanced national and international measures to ensure the most robust levels of nuclear safety, based on IAEA safety standards. It was stated that safety standards should be continuously strengthened and implemented as broadly and effectively as possible. The Ministers attending the Conference committed themselves to increasing bilateral, regional and international cooperation to that effect.
>>79. The Ministers expressed their commitment to strengthening the central role of IAEA in promoting international cooperation in order to enhance global nuclear safety and in coordinating efforts to strengthen global nuclear safety by providing expertise and advice and promoting nuclear safety culture worldwide. The Ministers also expressed their commitment to further strengthening the authority, competence and resources of national regulatory authorities.
>>4. Nexus between nuclear safety and security
>>Specific issues relevant for consideration by Governments
>>93. The most important document in the IAEA Safety Standard series, Safety Fundamentals, states that “safety measures and security measures must be designed and implemented in an integrated manner so that security measures do not compromise safety and safety measures do not compromise security”.
>>94. The Fukushima Daiichi accident also has implications for nuclear security. There are several common characteristics shared by accidents and sabotage, such as reduced effectiveness of remaining systems, including through the loss of power, communications, computer, safety and physical protection systems; and the loss of key operating, safety and security personnel.
>>Implications of the Fukushima accident and the impact of major nuclear accidents
>>95. In the light of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, States should review their nuclear security framework in order to ensure that they are properly prepared to respond to the consequences of a severe nuclear accident.
>>Trends and developments
>>96. The international nuclear security framework has been strengthened over the past 10 years in response to increased concerns about the risk of a malicious act involving nuclear material, facilities or transport. New security-related instruments such as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment have been supplemented by recommendations and guidance documents produced by IAEA as part of its Nuclear Security series.
>>97. IAEA has enhanced its support to States to help them establish sustainable nuclear security regimes by implementing nuclear security plans. The aims of IAEA have been shared by groups of States, such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, or industry, through the World Institute for Nuclear Security. There has been greater awareness among States of the need for such regimes and for State systems to involve non-traditional actors.
>>98. IAEA has received an increasing number of requests for expert peer review
services in areas such as legislation, regulation and physical protection of facilities.
>>99. In order to properly address nuclear security, the international community should promote universal adherence to and implementation of relevant international legal instruments. Other steps should include the detailed technical examination by States of their assumptions about the nature of potential threats and the adequacy of existing security measures. Response plans should be revised to deal with worstcase scenarios that go beyond previous assumptions. Such plans should also be rigorously tested through both table-top and practical exercises.
>>100. In cooperation with other stakeholders, IAEA should continue to help States to establish effective, comprehensive and sustainable national nuclear security regimes. IAEA support will include peer reviews and assessment services, human resource development programmes and, where appropriate, physical protection upgrades. Coordination efforts between IAEA and other United Nations entities, such as the Office on Drugs and Crime and the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force, should continue to be increased, with expanded exchanges of information at the working level, improved communication between the entities and avoidance of duplication.
>>101. In addition to IAEA assistance, States should ensure the effective use of resources and coherent approaches with other stakeholders within the United Nations system.
>>World Meteorological Organization
>>Nuclear safety and security
>>Disasters caused by natural hazards
>>23. It should be noted that earthquakes and tsunamis do not fall under WMO responsibility and are not hazards related to hydro-meteorological events. There are therefore no comments about those phenomena or their impacts in this section. However, it should be recalled that the WMO Global Telecommunication network is used to transmit tsunami-related warning and information worldwide to national meteorological and national hydrological services, in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which can relay those warnings at the national level to the relevant authorities.
>>Links between natural hazards of hydro-meteorological origin and nuclear safety and security
>>24. Every year, disasters related to meteorological, hydrological and climate hazards cause significant loss of life and set back economic and social development by years, if not decades.
>>25. Disaster risk reduction is at the core of the mission of WMO, and the national meteorological and hydrological services of its 189 members. WMO, through its scientific and technical programmes, as well as the above-mentioned network of Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres and national meteorological and national hydrological services, provides scientific and technical services. They include observing, detecting, monitoring, predicting and early warning of a wide range of weather-, climate- and water-related hazards. Through a coordinated approach, and working with its partners, WMO addresses the information needs and requirements of the disaster risk management community, effectively and in a timely fashion.
>>26. Preparedness and prevention, combined with effective emergency management and early warning systems, can significantly contribute to reducing the impacts of hazards on human life and economic losses. Moreover, the utilization of climate information for medium- to long-term sectoral planning can reduce the economic impacts of disasters.
>>27. Because of the need for water to cool their reactors, nuclear power plants are located by coasts and rivers. Their functioning is therefore highly sensitive to any weather or climate conditions that affect the quantity and quality of the required water directly, such as coastal inundations and river flooding, unusually low water levels or high water temperatures, or indirectly, for example, ground movements such as induced subsidence due to soil dryness or extensive use of ground water in prolonged drought conditions.
>>28. Under extreme circumstances, nuclear power plants and/or their environment can be sensitive to the effects of wind, water and waves, thus making the operations inside or outside the nuclear power plant more difficult. In the case of the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the combination of electricity cuts and disruption of electricity generators prevented the safety systems from functioning as expected.
>>29. One lesson learned is that safety- and security-related accident prevention and emergency plans and systems must not only allow for natural hazards on a type-by-type basis, but must also include a multi-hazard approach that allows for the possible impacts of combined hazards.
>>30. In that respect, WMO is working in partnership with the United Nations and other international agencies to support the strengthening of multi-hazard early warning system capacities, especially in developing countries, including: (a) the detection, monitoring and forecasting of meteorological and hydrological hazards; (b) analysis of hazards/risks and incorporating risk information in emergency planning and warnings; (c) dissemination of timely and authoritative warnings to authorities; and, (d) community emergency planning and preparedness and the ability to activate emergency plans. Those four components should be coordinated across several agencies at the national and local levels.
>>Possible changes of hazards with time
>>31. Natural hazards can change in intensity, frequency and location depending on factors other than climate change, namely:
– Changes to the physical geography of a drainage basin, including the estuaries; the offshore bathymetry, coastal profile and catchments areas; or the surface roughness of the area around the site, which may influence the effects of wind on the plant
– Changes of land use in the area around the site
– Changes in the availability of water due to upstream dams or modification of use (such as irrigation)
>>32. For river basins, the design-basis flood is to a great extent dependent on the physical nature of the basin. For estuaries, the design basis flood can evolve over time as a result of changes in the geography or other factors, such as the construction of storm surge barriers.
>>33. The continuing validity of the design basis flood should be checked through periodic surveys of the conditions in the basin that may be related to floods (such as forest fires, urbanization, changes in land use, deforestation, closure of tidal inlets, construction of dams or storm surge barriers, changes in sedimentation and erosion).
>>Those surveys should be carried out at appropriate intervals, mainly by means of aerial surveys supplemented, as necessary, by ground surveys. Special surveys should be undertaken when particularly important changes have occurred (for example, extensive forest fires). Where the size of the basin precludes carrying out sufficiently frequent air surveys, the use of data obtained by satellite imaging and sensing should be considered.
>>34. The data obtained from flood forecasting and monitoring systems and from the operation of any warning systems should be periodically analysed for changes in the flood characteristics of drainage basins, including estuaries.
>>35. Indications of changes in the flood characteristics of drainage basins should be used to revise, as appropriate, the design basis flood values and to improve the protection of systems and structures, the forecasting and monitoring systems, and the emergency measures. The forecasting models should be updated if necessary.
>>36. In some coastal areas, coastal erosion or land subsidence (natural or induced by humans, relating to the extraction of oil, gas or water) may have to be taken into consideration in the estimation of the apparent water height at the site, to be combined with the phenomena resulting from climatic changes.
>>37. A permanent uplift of the Earth’s surface due to an earthquake could result in a permanent low water scenario in areas close to large earthquake rupture zones. Similarly, a permanent subsidence of the Earth’s surface due to an earthquake could result in a permanent inundation in areas close to large earthquake rupture zones.