Human factors in Fukushima emergency response examined

The International Atomic Energy Agency group has been in Japan studying the human factors aspects of the emergency response at the Fukushima nuclear facility, which suffered failure to its cooling system after the Earthquake and Tsunami that affected Japan earlier this year.

“Imagine what it means when your family perhaps is affected, the tsunami destroyed your home, but you have to be onsite [responding to an emergency]” said Mike Weightman, chief of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).    

Operational logs will be examined, and personnel interviewed to find out what took place.  Findings may affect the UK’s designs for future nuclear reactors, and may help prepare for future occurrences, whether caused by natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

Findings will be presented at a ministerial conference in Vienna, 20-24 June 2011.  An interim report was released 18 May 2011 recommending the need to review how actions arising from Fukushima may affect the UK nuclear industry – see HSE website.

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