How are nuclear risks managed in France? It will take a long time to learn all the lessons from Fukushima nuclear disaster, and even longer to bring about a change in the practices and principles of nuclear risk governance. Yet several major themes are already emerging in France. March 11, 2018, marked the seven-year anniversary of Fukushima, when the Northeast coast of Japan was struck by a record magnitude 9 earthquake, followed by a tsunami. These natural disasters led to an industrial disaster, a nuclear accident rated 7, the highest level on the INES scale, at the Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima. In the aftermath of the disaster, the world was stunned at the realisation of the seriousness and suddenness of this event, which, according to Jacques Repussard, director general of the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) requires us to “imagine the unimaginable and prepare for it.” It confronts all those involved in nuclear safety with a critical challenge: how can we guarantee safety in the midst of unexpected events? Beyond its unpredictable nature, this accident served as a brutal and particularly relevant reminder that nuclear energy, more than any other technology or industry, transcends all borders, whether they be geographic, temporal, institutional or professional. The consequences of nuclear accidents extend well beyond the borders of a region or a country and remain present for hundreds or even thousands of years, thus exceeding any “human” time scale.
The Conversation 19th Aug 2018 read more »