Nuclear power industry adopts global best practices

The world’s leading civilian nuclear power plant vendors announced Sept. 15 a common set of principles they said reflect global best practices for the export of nuclear power plants, including export to countries with an emerging interest in developing civilian nuclear energy.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the initiative’s facilitator, said the “Principles of Conduct” reflect the participating companies’ commitment to sharing best practices that reinforce and enhance existing codes, standards and regulations.

Development of the principles began well in advance of the March 11 Fukushima nuclear accident, but the completed text reflects initial lessons learned from the accident.

Companies adopting the principles include Areva, ATMEA (an Areva-Mitsubishi joint venture), Atomstroyexport, Candu Energy (successor exporting company to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.), GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Korea Electric Power Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba and Westinghouse Electric Co.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a release that the principles “articulate concisely the nuclear power plant industry’s shared high standards in the areas of safety, security, environmental protection and spent fuel management, compensation in the unlikely event of nuclear-related damage, nonproliferation and ethics.” It said no such voluntary, comprehensive, export-oriented code of conduct has previously existed in the nuclear industry.

The voluntary Principles of Conduct were crafted over the past three years by representatives from all the major exporters of nuclear power plants. They have been adopted by nine companies based in Canada, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The principles take effect immediately.

“Nuclear power plant technology is important to meeting global energy requirements in a sustainable manner,” said Sir Richard Giordano, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment. “Whatever lessons particular countries draw from Fukushima over time, new nuclear plants will continue to be built, some in countries that have only recently begun to utilize nuclear power. It is therefore imperative that nuclear energy is implemented safely and responsibly in both emerging and developed markets. The Principles are designed to promote free and fair competition for nuclear power plant exports while helping to ensure that the highest standards of safety are maintained.”

For more information, visit the Principles of Conduct website: http://nuclearprinciples.org/

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