News / Science & Technology

Report: Aging Nuclear Reactors Pose Safety Challenge

This Greenpeace photo shows a video projection reading
This Greenpeace photo shows a video projection reading "Tricastin, nuclear accident, " on the Tricastin power plant complex, July 15, 2013 in southern France.
Reuters
Significant progress was made last year in strengthening nuclear safety around the world, the U.N. atomic watchdog said in its annual review, despite the “challenge” posed by a large number of aging reactors.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published the report shortly before a protest on Monday by Greenpeace activists targeting one of France's oldest nuclear power plants and demanding its closure.

The EDF's Tricastin plant was built more than 30 years ago - an age which it shares with many other atomic energy facilities, the IAEA survey showed.

Overall, however, the U.N. agency report was upbeat about developments, saying “the world nuclear community has made noteworthy progress in strengthening nuclear safety in 2012”.

The report came more than two years after reactor meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, unnerved the nuclear industry and raised questions over whether atomic energy was safe.

Since the Fukushima disaster, a large majority of IAEA member states with nuclear power plants have undertaken so-called safety stress tests, the U.N. agency said.

“Many have introduced additional safety measures,” the report, posted during the weekend on the IAEA's website, said.

Operational safety remained high, it said, referring to performance indicator data on 437 nuclear power plants globally.

Of those, 162 have been in operation for more than 30 years and 22 for more than 40 years. Long-term operation and aging of nuclear power plants “is an ongoing challenge for regulators, operators and utilities,” the IAEA said.

There are growing expectations that existing plants should meet enhanced safety objectives, closer to those of recent designs, it said, and many countries had already taken action to address aging reactors.

For example, authorities in the United States, Switzerland and Canada have “published guidelines and aging lessons learned to ensure that safety and performance remain within acceptable limits throughout the life cycle” of nuclear power plants.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More