Sat, Mar 19, 2011 - Page 3 News List

JAPAN DISASTER: Taiwan-US nuclear facility agreement covers broad scope

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan and the US have recently signed an arrangement to enhance bilateral cooperation on the regulation of the safety and environmental impacts of nuclear facilities in several areas, including sharing information and training safety personnel.

The text of the arrangement for the exchange of technical information and cooperation in nuclear regulatory and safety matters obtained by the Taipei Times showed that the scope of bilateral cooperation included technical information exchange, cooperation in confirmatory nuclear safety research, training and assignments, and technical advice.

It was signed on Jan. 4 by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in coordination with their respective designated representatives, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) of Taiwan and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the US.

Information is to be shared in areas such as the regulation of safety, safeguards (materials accountancy and control and physical protection), waste management, radiation protection (environmental monitoring, personal dose evaluation, calibration, proficiency testing), nuclear security, emergency preparedness and the environmental impact of designated nuclear facilities.

Under the arrangements, the AEC and NRC can also share information on nuclear safety research programs, including topical reports on related issues written by each side and documents relating to significant licensing actions and safety and environmental decisions affecting nuclear facilities, among others.

Also included is the early provision of information about important events, such as serious operating incidents and ordered reactor shutdowns that are of immediate interest to the AEC and the NRC and copies of regulatory standards, or by the two agencies.

Taipei and Washington agreed to cooperate in the provision of certain training and experiences for safety personnel from the AEC and the NRC.

The US and Taiwan agreed to exchange information covered by the arrangement through letters, reports and other documents, and by visits and meetings arranged in advance or on a case-by-case basis and to hold a meeting annually, or at such other times as mutually agreed, to review its implementation.

David Yao (饒大衛), director of the AEC’s Department of Planning, was quoted in a report by the US-based wire agency Bureau of National Affairs as saying that the arrangement would be an ideal platform for Taiwan to acquire more information about the emergency at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

When contacted, AIT spokeswoman Sheila Paskman declined to comment, saying that the US had signed similar arrangements with many other countries to enhance cooperation on nuclear safety.

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