Switzerland demands a strengthening of international safety monitoring

At the OECD Forum in Paris, ENSI Director Hans Wanner argued for a strengthening of the international monitoring of nuclear power. This followed comments by the Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard at yesterday’s meeting of minsters from the G8 and G20 countries on nuclear safety in Paris during which she called for internationally binding safety standards. Compliance with such standards should be monitored by independent inspectors from other countries and in the interests of transparency the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency should facilitate easy access to the results.

Paris – At a Panel Discussion on Tuesday at the “OECD Forum on the Fukushima Accident: Insights and Approaches,” Hans Wanner, the ENSI Director commented on the lessons that could be learned from the accident in Japan.

For example, location-specific risk assumptions for nuclear power plants must be updated regularly to reflect the latest findings. Nuclear power plants should be designed so that they can manage such risks, said Wanner. There needs to be a critical review of crisis management following nuclear accidents and serious, concurrent damage to a country’s infrastructure. In addition, crisis management must be practised regularly. Further improvements are required in the international exchange of information following a nuclear accident. The IAEA has a crucial role to play in this respect.

On the subject of statutory general licenses, Wanner emphasised that effective nuclear surveillance requires an independent authority – this is also an IAEA demand. In addition, the operators of nuclear power plants must have a statutory obligation to upgrade their facility to reflect the latest developments in science and technology.

Wanner went on to say that Switzerland had already introduced several measures to improve nuclear safety following Fukushima. All countries with nuclear power plants have a vested interest in ensuring that domestic safety standards comply with international standards. Although the full details of the Fukushima accident are not yet available, now is the right time to strengthen international surveillance by introducing binding requirements.