The International Atomic Energy Agency says a major factor behind the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident was a widespread assumption in Japan that nuclear power plants were safe.
The IAEA released a final report on Monday on the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. About 180 experts from more than 40 IAEA member countries contributed to the 1,200-page-plus report.
The report says that Japan was not sufficiently prepared for a severe nuclear accident due to the assumption that nuclear plants were safe. It says the Fukushima Daiichi plant had weaknesses in design and emergency preparedness.
The March 2011 accident came after a major earthquake and tsunami struck Fukushima Prefecture and the surrounding areas of northeastern Japan.
The report says the accident demonstrated the need to consider the potential for a combination of natural hazards to occur simultaneously. It says safety standards should also be continuously re-evaluated to consider advances in knowledge.
The report says no early radiation-induced health effects were observed among workers or members of the public.
It adds that although it can take decades for latent health effects to emerge, no discernible increase in such conditions is expected, given the low levels of radiation exposure among the general public.
The report also says thyroid abnormalities found in some children are unlikely to be associated with the nuclear accident, due to low exposure levels.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano says some of the factors that resulted in the Fukushima accident were not unique to Japan.
Amano says continuous questioning and openness to learning from experience are key to safety and are essential for everyone working in the industry.
The IAEA plans to submit the report to its General Conference this month to share the lessons on a wide scale and help improve the safety of nuclear plants.
“IAEA’s final report on Fukushima disaster slams safety myth, downplays thyroid cancer fears”
The International Atomic Energy Agency says a primary factor behind the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster was a mistaken “assumption” among plant operators about the safety of reactors.