Severe Accident Management Guidance: Lessons Still to be Learned after Fukushima - The Need for an Industrial Standard

George Vayssier


After the accidents in Three Mile Island (TMI) and Chernobyl, many countries decided to develop and implement guidelines specifically directed to mitigate accidents with core damage, so-called severe accidents. The guidelines are usually named Severe Accident Management Guidelines (SAMG). In the USA, all operating plants had these guidelines in place at the end of 1998. Most other countries followed later, but today, it can be said that many nuclear power plants in the world have such guidelines in place.

Typically, however, the guidelines were constructed under the assumption that many plant systems still will be available, i.e. there will be DC to feed the instruments, AC to feed equipment and water to restore cooling to the core. Typically, this was basically the situation at TMI: most equipment was functional, only the insight of what had happened had been lost and operators did not know how to respond.

At Fukushima-Daiichi, a Site Disruptive Accident (SDA) occurred and it appeared that the situation was much more complex: much of the needed supportive equipment needed was unavailable, which greatly complicated the handling of the event.

In this paper, the major shortcomings of the present existing SAMG are discussed, both from a technical, and an organisational viewpoint. It is concluded that, where proper regulation still is missing, the development of an industrial standard is recommended to define adequate tools and guidelines to mitigate severe accidents, including SDAs.


management of severe accidents, Fukushima-accident, industry standard


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