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Finnish challangeies in nuclear safety survilance was discussed in Wienna

Finnish challangeies in nuclear safety survilance was discussed in Wienna

11 Apr 2017 18:29

The nuclear safety conference in Vienna has drawn attention to the fact that in Finland the authorities are tasked with simultaneously monitoring all phases of the life cycle of several types of nuclear facilities. The situation demands resources and sets challenges for Finnish nuclear safety monitoring.

The parties to the International Nuclear Safety Convention met in Vienna to review nuclear safety questions and to assess how countries are complying with their obligations under the Convention. The conference lasts two weeks (27 March–7 April 2017). The Finnish delegation was made up of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK, as well as representatives of power companies. The delegation is headed by Ambassador Hannu Kyröläinen.

During the meeting, the participating countries are assessing the status of nuclear safety in the countries that are signatories to the Convention. The assessment is based on reports prepared by these countries, and on the discussions at the meeting. In the assessments concerning Finland, attention was drawn to the emerging challenges to monitoring. In addition to that, it was considered good practice that Finland uses risk assessments based on probability calculations to improve safety. Praise was also given for the Finnish practice of continuously improving the safety of its facilities. It is not enough for safety systems to be approved once if the increase in knowledge and the continual improvement of technical solutions makes it possible to achieved even greater safety.

STUK’s Director General Petteri Tiippana agrees that the situation in Finland is a challenge to the officials carrying out the monitoring. Finland has four operational nuclear reactors, the fifth is nearing completion, and a sixth is being planned. Finland's first nuclear reactor, the Otaniemi research reactor, has been shut down, and preparations are being made for its dismantlement. The world’s first final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel is being built here.

Even though the international assessments came to the conclusion that the situation in Finland is good and the country is also able to meet the challenges that arise, Tiippana emphasises that there is no room for complacency, either in STUK or on the part of the power companies. The responsibilities arising from the International Nuclear Safety Convention obligations were formulated and adopted over twenty years ago, and there are no plans to change them. Indeed, countries that live up to their responsibilities must be able to set for themselves requirements that are more demanding than the agreement requires, and to improve safety continually.

“Safety is not a status but a process. The power companies that are responsible for safety, and STUK as the body that monitors their activities, must always think about what we might possibly have overlooked, and what we are not prepared for,” says Tiippana. “Calling into question the safety of the work must continue, as must the assessments and improvements, despite the pat on the back from the international field.”

Further information:

Link to material related to the Nuclear Safety Convention

Director General Petteri Tiippana, tel. +358 9 759 88 200
Director Kirsi Alm-Lytz, tel. +358 9 759 88 663
Communications Expert Risto Isaksson, tel. +358 9 759 88 208

Nuclear safety
12 Apr 2017 15:28
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