Fukushima, 5 Years Fast Forward

William Orders


In 2015, the IAEA published a comprehensive report, “The Fukushima Daiichi Accident,” that describes the accident, its causes, its evolution, and the consequences.  It also details IAEA’s observations and lessons.  The NRC recently completed a preliminary review of this report. We determined that the U.S. NRC, government, or industry are already addressing the concerns in the report. In short, U.S. actions to address the lessons learned are consistent with the concerns of the international community.    A detailed comparison is available here [link to short version of the crosswalk].


The most obvious areas of concern were the effects of a seismic event, flooding, and a complete loss of AC power.  Common issues that are being addressed by the nuclear power industry globally include:

  • a re-examination of external hazards,
  • improving the robustness of the electrical systems,
  • enhancing the robustness of the ultimate heat sink (UHS),
  • protection of the reactor containment system,
  • protection of spent fuel in storage pools and
  • the capability of quickly providing diverse equipment and assistance from on-site or off-site emergency preparedness facilities.


Understandably, the Fukushima accident had a significant impact on the nuclear power industry worldwide. The underpinnings of the accepted understanding of global nuclear safety were reconsidered.  Addressing the accident, and implementing corrective actions from lessons learned to prevent recurrence, are a priority for regulators and the nuclear industry.  Although the NRC staff are continuing to review the comprehensive report in detail, we are heartened that internationally we are all addressing the same common concerns.  Safety is being enhanced worldwide.


More information on the NRC’s response to the Fukushima accident can be found on NRC’s Japan Lessons Learned website. A description of the accident is available here.




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