A common set of principles reflecting the global best practices in the nuclear power plant export field has been announced by the world’s leading civilian vendors. These principles include also export to those countries with an emerging interest in developing civilian nuclear energy.
A first time in this field, this set of principles is focused on such areas as safety, security, environmental protection and spent fuel management, compensation in the unlikely event of nuclear-related damage, nonproliferation and ethics.
The agreed code of conduct comes at the end of a 3-year work by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), an international source of expertise and policy thinking on nuclear industry, nonproliferation, security, and disarmament.
According to a CEIP spokesperson, there has been no involvement on the side of the American Nuclear Society or the Nuclear Energy Institute. An industry observer familiar with NEI and other groups said the effort might generate little interest domestically since there are no regulatory requirements nor is there a legal enforcement mechanism associated with the Principles which take effect immediately.
“Nuclear power plant technology is important to meeting global energy requirements in a sustainable manner,” said Sir Richard Giordano, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment. “Whatever lessons particular countries draw from Fukushima over time, new nuclear plants will continue to be built,” he said
As a voluntary initiative, the Principles are not legally binding, but each company has independently undertaken to implement the Principles in the course of its business activities.
The principles are being adopted outside of the IAEA‘s efforts to adopt international nuclear safety standards. Reuters reports that these efforts are controversial with significant differences among member states.