As the world anxiously await the restart of two of Japan's idled nuclear reactors, the rest of globe continue to step up working on improvements and safety checks on their respective nuclear power plants.
One such country is South Africa, of which its National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) declared on Thursday that the installations rendered in the original design of its nuclear facilities are safe and capable to "withstand natural events."
South Africa has two main nuclear facilities, including the Safari-1 reactor located at Pelindaba, a research facility, as well as Koeberg power station.
The Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in Japan last year proved to be a powerful eye opener to the global community, acting as a catalyst for nations to inspect and double check existing nuclear power generators as well as scrutinize design plans for yet-to-be built new ones.
"One of the key lessons we learnt out of this is that we must not make any assumptions about anything when it comes to issues of safety. If there's any assumption to be made at least we must be assuming the worst and how to prepare ourselves against the worst possible incident that can occur. I think that is one of the fundamental lessons that came out," Boyce Mkhize, Chief Executive Officer Advocate of NNR, said in a statement.
SA's two nuclear facilities, according to Mkhize can hold up to external events such as seismic activity, tsunamis, flooding, fire, aircraft crashes, tornados, loss of offsite power and station blackout.
"There were no findings to warrant curtailing operations or to question the design margins of these facilities," Mkhize said at a media briefing.
Last year, the operators of the two nuclear installations received orders from NRR to conduct safety reassessments amid the trauma and panic caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
"The aims of the safety reassessments were to identify vulnerabilities in the design and basis of the facilities, evaluate the safety margins for beyond design events and identify necessary modifications, measures and technical features to be implemented where there is a need to strengthen defence-in-depth and improve the safety of operating facilities," Mkhize said.
Improvement measures were likewise identified and recommended, including expanding seismic robustness and emergency lighting, building a sturdier portable equipment storage facility, as well as promoting the use of on- and offsite communications.
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