More than 100 delegates from 40 organizations convened this week to address the impact of COVID-19 on the operations of nuclear installations, operational safety, radiation protection and emergency preparedness at an event during the 64th IAEA General Conference.
The discussion took place in the context of the annual forum of the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG), a group of high-level experts from all over the world that provides advice on safety issues, including to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Delegates discussed how already existing pandemic plans were implemented to ensure safety and security at nuclear facilities. They highlighted the IAEA’s efforts to enhance its support to its Members States through rapid mobilization, identification of challenges and facilitation of information exchange in nuclear safety and security during this period.
Participants provided information on how they implemented mitigation measures, including:
- Quarantine of new workers
- Temporarily halting construction work at nuclear power plants
- Operating with reduced workforce
- Carrying out standard operating procedures to minimize pandemic impact
- Social distancing and personal hygiene measures
- Tracking the health of workers
- Prioritization of tasks
- Identification of essential staff
- Provision of physical protection of equipment
- Temperature screening
- Contact tracing from start of the pandemic
- Proactively increased communication with staff, external stakeholders and the host communities
- Importance of gaining cooperation of staff
- Reinforcing nuclear safety training
- Performing certain inspections remotely
Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, in his closing remarks, said that the Forum had reflected on experiences from around the world and he “intend[s] to analyze these experiences in order to learn for the future and this learning will not only be for future pandemics but also for the remainder of the current pandemic.”
Adapted from original story by Anjarika Strohal, IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security