The safe use of nuclear energy requires measures in place to prevent accidents, respond and mitigate their consequences, and remediate sites after accidents.
Effective prevention, response, and recovery require a holistic approach that relies on a safety and security conscious industry, responsible users of radioactive materials, independent nuclear regulators, and stakeholders who work together.
Each state operating nuclear power is responsible for nuclear safety and hence needs be prepared for radiological accidents and emergencies. But as the consequences – radiological and beyond – is trans-boundary in effect, all states have a role to play in preparation of contingency plans and develop a cooperative approach to a chain of emergency, response and recovery activities. This encompasses establishment of channels for prompt communication, sharing of basic information on the characteristics of nuclear installations, agreeing on procedures in dealing with emergencies and mitigating the consequences to people, property and environment. Joint national and regional exercises are important in testing the emergency response capabilities.
Adoption and implementation of relevant IAEA safety and security, conventions and codes of conduct, is a basic norm, but this should be developed further to take into account to regional conditions.
About the Speaker
Olli Heinonen is a Senior Associate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Senior Advisor on Science and Nonproliferation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C. His research and teachings include: nuclear safety, security, non-proliferation and disarmament, verification of treaty compliance, enhancement of the verification work of international organizations, and transfer and control of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Before joining the Belfer Center in September 2010 as a Senior Fellow until 2016, Olli Heinonen served 27 years at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Heinonen was the Deputy Director General of the IAEA, and head of its Department of Safeguards. Prior to that, he was Director at the Agency’s various Operational Divisions, and as inspector including at the IAEA’s overseas office in Tokyo, Japan.
Prior to joining IAEA, he was a Senior Research Officer at the Technical Research Centre of Finland Reactor Laboratory in charge of research and development related to nuclear waste solidification and disposal.
Olli Heinonen studied radiochemistry and completed his PhD dissertation in nuclear material analysis at the University of Helsinki.