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A Look Back at the Nuclear Safety Workshop

June 16, 2011 - 2:59pm


As the Department’s Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer, my job is to make sure that we continue to enhance and improve the safety of the Energy Department's nuclear facilities. That is why, in response to the March accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, the Department hosted a Nuclear Safety Workshop to bring together senior managers and technical experts from across the government and commercial nuclear industry to identify preliminary lessons learned and discuss ways to enhance the safety of our nuclear facilities.

Participants included the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Chemical Safety Board, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Among other presentations, the workshop featured technical breakout sessions on the evaluation and response to potential severe events that could impact our nuclear facilities (such as severe seismic events).

Participants discussed the importance of:

  • Evaluating the need for emergency planning to compensate for potential unavailability of shared infrastructure following beyond design basis events;
  • Gaining a better understanding of survivability of safety equipment in severe accident environments;
  • Better integrating design basis analysis, beyond design basis accident analysis, and other analyses performed to support determining emergency response needs; and
  • Evaluating potential for cascading events that may occur from natural phenomena hazards.

As a result of this workshop, the Department will prepare an evaluation of the lessons-learned and recommendations for further improving nuclear safety at the Department of Energy. This evaluation and its results will be compiled into a report later this summer.