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IAEA, WANO Sign New MoU For Safe Operation Of Nuke Power Plants

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for increased cooperation between the two organizations following the Fukushima nuclear accident of March 2011.

The MoU enables the two entities to work more closely together for the safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants worldwide, and to enhance information exchange on operating experience and other relevant areas, IAEA said in a press release on Monday.

Through the IAEA's Nuclear Safety Action Plan, its Member- States urged the nuclear watchdog and WANO to strengthen their MoU to enhance information exchange. WANO member operators also recommended stronger collaboration. Through the new agreement, the two organizations are adopting a more coordinated approach to their respective activities, in order to help prevent further accidents and mitigate the consequences should an accident occur. Plans are now in place to coordinate the timing of IAEA Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) missions and WANO peer reviews, and to arrange periodic meetings of WANO and Agency staff to discuss major safety-related activities.

The two organizations will also cooperate and coordinate work on their respective performance indicator programs and will work towards exchanging information and support in the event of a serious event at a nuclear power plant or fuel cycle facility. In addition to this, the IAEA and WANO will supply staff to each other's review teams when necessary, and will regularly exchange documents relating to operating experience.

IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said the Agency's "Action Plan on Nuclear Safety emphasizes the importance of working more closely with WANO and other international organizations, so that we can all better address the demands of the future. This agreement is an important step in strengthening that cooperation and enhancing the flow of information on nuclear safety issues."

WANO Chairman Laurent Stricker said: "An important lesson we learned from Fukushima was the need for WANO to be better connected to and engaged with the IAEA. Our members tasked us with revising this Memorandum of Understanding and ensuring that it provides practical ways for us to improve information sharing and coordination. I am confident that the new agreement will help us to jointly meet the challenges faced by the nuclear industry post-Fukushima."

WANO is a non-profit member association established by the world's nuclear power operators to exchange safety knowledge and operating experience amongst organizations operating commercial nuclear power reactors. WANO members operate some 440 nuclear units in more than 30 countries around the world.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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