IAEA Fact-Finding Team Completes Visit to Japan (1 June 2011)


On June 1, the IAEA nuclear safety experts team completed their visit to Japan and announced a preliminary summary of the IAEA International Fact Finding Expert Mission of the Nuclear Accident following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami from May 24 to June 1 (see the preliminary summary report).

The experts team made several preliminary findings and lessons learned, including:


- Japan's response to the nuclear accident has been exemplary, particularly illustrated by the dedicated, determined and expert staff working under exceptional circumstances; Japan's long-term response, including the evacuation of the area around stricken reactors, has been impressive and well organized. A suitable and timely follow-up programme on public and worker exposures and health monitoring would be beneficial;


- The tsunami hazard for several sites was underestimated. Nuclear plant designers and operators should appropriately evaluate and protect against the risks of all natural hazards, and should periodically update those assessments and assessment methodologies;


- Nuclear regulatory systems should address extreme events adequately, including their periodic review, and should ensure that regulatory independence and clarity of roles are preserved; and


- The Japanese accident demonstrates the value of hardened on-site Emergency Response Centres with adequate provisions for handling all necessary emergency roles, including communications.

The final report will be delivered to the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety at IAEA headquarters in Vienna from 20 to 24 June.


(IAEA web-site)