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International Conference on Topical Issues in Nuclear Installation Safety - Defence in Depth - Advances and Challenges for Nuclear Installation Safety

The International Conference on Topical Issues in Nuclear Installation Safety: Defence in Depth– Advances and Challenges for Nuclear Installation Safety was held from 21 to 24 October 2013 at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The conference was held in a plenary session format and was attended by a broad range of experts in the area of nuclear safety. The conference opening session was followed by four topical sessions, followed by oral presentations, and a stimulating discussion among the participants. Conference findings, conclusions and recommendations were summarized in the closing session.


The objective of this conference was to foster the exchange of information on the latest thinking and advances in the implementation of the concept of Defence in Depth (DID) in nuclear installations, and the associated challenges. The conference focussed on operating nuclear installations, including nuclear power plants, research reactors and fuel cycle facilities, and on how lessons learned from operating experience and recent events (e.g. the Fukushima Daiichi accident) are used to enhance safety. The implementation of DID covers a number of elements that are directly related to the different states and phases of a nuclear facility.


The conference President and Co-chairs presented conclusions and recommendations on the conference’s four topical issues during the closing session on 24 October 2013, a few of which include:
  • The robustness of DID as a concept should be further enhanced;
  • Prevention and mitigation to be strengthened in operational safety;
  • The need for flexibility and extendibility of pre-planned arrangements during application in actual emergency, e.g. teams in charge of emergency management should be trained to address the unexpected; and
  • The need for additional understanding and implementation concerning the meaning of independence.


The first International Conference on Topical Issues in the area of nuclear safety was held by the IAEA in 1998 in Vienna, Austria, with three further conferences held in 2001 (Vienna), 2004 (Beijing) and 2008 (Mumbai) focussing on different topics. The issues discussed, and the recommendations made, have provided the IAEA with valuable insights as to where future activities should be focussed. At the International Experts’ Meeting (IEM) on Reactor and Spent Fuel Safety in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, held in Vienna from 19 to 22 March 2012, an important element of the broadened safety agenda was the concerted, but independent efforts by Member States to establish additional layers of protection to prevent severe accidents, coupled with an increased priority on mitigation and a focus on the preservation of containment to enhance DID.
This conference continued the work completed in this area so far and focussed on the concept of DID and its implementation in nuclear installations.


For more information on this conference, please visit the IAEA Conference Webpage.