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Continuous improvement, transparency key to nuclear safety: expert

2013/01/30 22:18:20

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) A former chairman of France's independent Nuclear Safety Authority said Wednesday in Taipei that continuous assessments of a country's nuclear facilities and public access to relevant information could help to ensure nuclear safety.

Andre-Claude Lacoste, who stepped down last year as chairman of the regulating agency, said his country has been introducing a series of measures to raise safety standards in the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis in 2011.

Lacoste's visit to Taiwan comes amid an increasingly heated debate in recent weeks on whether Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant should be put into operation.

France has listed 800 new safety requirements in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, which was caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Lacoste said at a forum on nuclear safety in Taipei.

The measures include more frequent and extensive checks of nuclear facilities as well as long-term recovery plans in case of large-scale nuclear disasters, he said.

Lacoste said some of France's regulations have been picked up by the Taiwanese government, including the installation of an emergency cool-down water supply for nuclear reactors.

"A continuous improvement process is necessary, in addition to periodical checks," he said in his presentation at National Taiwan University.

Furthermore, Lacoste said, access to transparent information on inspection results and government policies may also encourage public engagement, which could lead to better supervision of nuclear safety.

Lacoste is scheduled to meet with local officials to discuss nuclear power issues, before wrapping up his Taiwan visit Thursday.

France's Nuclear Safety Authority is an independent administrative agency tasked with regulating nuclear safety and radiation protection to protect the public and the environment from the risks involved in nuclear activity.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)