Upcoming n-plants may have to report ‘events’ that affect safety

Soon, "significant events" taking place during construction and commissioning of a nuclear plant will also have to be reported to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

The board is devising a system similar to one in place for operating plants, which are required to promptly report to it events that impact or may impact operational safety.

The aim is to make the process more systematic and transparent.

Operating plants are required to submit 'event reports' and 'significant event reports' to AERB.

The 'significant event reports' are rated on International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) of International Atomic Energy Agency. INES has seven levels. While level one, two and three events are termed "incidents", level four and above events are termed accidents. The events in Fukushima, Japan, last year and at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 were of level seven.

An event with "no safety significance" is called level zero or below scale.

"AERB has proposed a system of reporting significant events in construction/commissioning stages of projects. The measure will lead to a more systematised process of reporting, documenting and handling of industrial accidents," said an official.

AERB stats reveal 38 significant events were reported by operating nuclear power plants across the world in 2011. Of these, 36 were level zero. In 2007, 36 significant events were reported, 24 in 2008, 23 in 2009 and 34 in 2010.

An event in 2011 at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station-2, where four temporary workers were exposed to radiation beyond the annual limit, was level two.

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