RPII Respond on Nuclear New Build Safety Query

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland has responded to a query from the Celtic League (sent in May) relating to comment it made about proposed new nuclear build in the United Kingdom and potential risks from same:

A copy of our letter to the RPII from the League can be found here:

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3916

The RPII response (dated 3rd of July) is set out below:

“Dear Mr Moffatt

Thank you for your letter on behalf of the Celtic League of 27th May 2013 (received 3jSt May 2013) and my apologies for not responding before now. As you noted in your letter, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) has recently completed its assessment of the potential radiological impact on Ireland of new nuclear power plants that may be built at up to eight sites in the UK. The RPII’s report describes its findings of the potential impacts on Ireland of both the anticipated routine day-to-day radioactive discharges from the new reactors once they are in operation and of a range of postulated nuclear accident scenarios.

You have queried the extent to which the 2011 UK HM Chief Inspector’s `Report on the Implications of the Japanese Tsunami for the UK Nuclear Industry’ was considered in our assessment of potential accidents. The RPII’s assessment of potential accident scenarios used accident scenarios taken from the recently published US State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequence Analyses (SOARCA) project. While the SOARCA study had nearly completed its peer review when the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident occurred on March 11, 2011, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) SOARCA team compared and contrasted the Fukushima accident and the SOARCA study for the following topics: (1) operation of the reactor core isolation cooling system, (2) hydrogen release and combustion, (3) 48-hour truncation of releases in SOARCA, (4) multi-unit risk, and (5) spent fuel pool risk. They identified many similarities between SOARCA’s calculated damage progression scenarios and the progression of events at Fukushima, as well as certain safety systems, and led the NRC to review the models used and assumptions made in the SOARCA analyses. The NRC’s overall conclusion, based on this review, was that the SOARCA’s conclusions remain valid in light of information currently available from the vents that unfolded at Fukushima.

The RPII continues to monitor developments in nuclear safety in the UK , including the implementation of the recommendations from the Chief Inspectors’s Report and at a European level through our participation in the European Nuclear Safety Regulator’ Group (ENSREG). As part of this role RPII contributed to the the ENSREG peer review process of the so called `stress tests’, which required plant operators to reassess the safety of nuclear plants against the type of extreme events that occurred at Fukushima. All relevants documents are published on the ENSREG website www.ensreg.eu.

I hope this information is helpful to the Celtic League. If you have further queries, please contact me again and I will do my best to address them. I note that you published a copy of your letter to me on your website and I would appreciate if you would also publish our response.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ann McGarry
Chief Executive”

The Celtic League are grateful to the RPII for this detailed reply.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information

25/07/13

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

General Secretary, Celtic League:

gensec@celticleague.net

The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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