28 Aug (NucNet): The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has told Japan to consider producing an “appropriate communications” plan to explain the safety significance of incidents at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant and to avoid sending “possibly confusing” messages to the media and the public.
In a document responding to questions from Japan’s permanent mission to the Vienna-based agency, the IAEA says that with “clear content and appropriate frequency of messages” such a plan would be “highly effective” and would avoid sending confusing messages on a possibly long series of low-level International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) incidents throughout the recovery operation at the plant.
The document, posted online by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), was a response to questions from Japan about whether or not it should apply an INES rating in the case of a leak earlier this month of contaminated water from a tank.
The leak was first reported on 19 August 2013 when water was discovered inside and outside a dike surrounding the water tank. On 21 August the NRA revised its initial rating of the leak from a Level 1 to a provisional Level 3 on INES.
The IAEA document notes that the leak was the latest in a number of similar events that were not given an INES rating.
It says the application of an INES rating is a national responsibility, but whatever communications strategy is adopted, it is important that the information needed to properly determine an INES rating is collated and that “a defensible” rating is determined.
“Frequent changes of rating will not help to communicate the actual situation in a clear manner,” the document says.
The document is online: www.nsr.go.jp/activity/bousai/trouble/data/20130828-1.pdf
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