UN nuclear body says ageing reactors fuel safety concerns

Mar 13, 2012
Eighty percent of nuclear power plants are more than 20 years old, raising safety concerns, the UN atomic agency warned in a draft report seen by AFP on Tuesday, a year after Japan's Fukushima disaster.

Eighty percent of nuclear power plants are more than 20 years old, raising safety concerns, the UN atomic agency warned in a draft report seen by AFP on Tuesday, a year after Japan's Fukushima disaster.

This "could impact safety and their ability to meet member states' in an economical and efficient manner," the International Atomic Energy Agency's draft annual Nuclear Safety Review said.

Countries opting for what it called "long term operation (LTO) must thoroughly analyse the safety aspects related to the ageing of ‘irreplaceable' key components," said the report, due to finalised and published in mid-2012.

The IAEA, which promotes the peaceful use of nuclear technology, said that five percent of the world's 435 nuclear facilities have been in operation for more than 40 years and 32 percent for more than 30 years.

It said that there were "growing expectations that older nuclear reactors should meet enhanced safety objectives, closer to that of recent or future reactor designs."

"There is a concern about the ability of the ageing nuclear fleet to fulfil these expectations and to continue to economically and efficiently support member states' energy requirements," it said.

It also said that 70 percent of the world's 254 research reactors -- for producing medical isotopes and other uses -- have been in operation for more than 30 years, many of them "exceeding their original design life."

This has raised "serious concerns" amongst research reactor operators, regulators and the public, it said.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said last week that measures put into place since the disaster in March 2011, caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami but also by "human and managerial failings," had made nuclear power safer.

Amano said that "good progress" has been made implementing the IAEA's action plan, involving stress tests on , peer reviews and the strengthening of defences against natural disasters.

Explore further: Morocco raises 1.7 bn euros for solar plants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

IAEA warned Japan over nuclear quake risk: WikiLeaks

Mar 17, 2011

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned Japan two years ago that a strong earthquake could pose a "serious problem" for its nuclear power stations, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported.

Nuclear experts to help Fukushima decontamination

Oct 04, 2011

The UN atomic agency IAEA said Tuesday it was sending 12 international experts to Japan on October 7-15 to assist the country with clean-up efforts after the nuclear accident of Fukushima in March.

EU to test nuclear plants' safety after bargaining

May 25, 2011

The European Union's energy chief said Wednesday he was satisfied with a deal to conduct EU-wide safety checks on nuclear plants even though tests on terror attacks were left for another day.

Recommended for you

The state of shale

21 hours ago

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

Dec 17, 2014

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.