International Response to Nuclear Power Reactor Safety Concerns

NSIAD-85-128: Published: Sep 30, 1985. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1985.

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GAO summarized the activities of international organizations working to prevent or alleviate the consequences of a nuclear power accident, specifically the sharing of nuclear safety information and the establishment of a framework for an international response to nuclear accidents.

GAO noted that: (1) approximately 300 nuclear power plants are operating worldwide; (2) the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rated the nuclear safety record of these plants as good; and (3) by the year 2000, developing countries will be operating more than half of the world's nuclear reactors. GAO also noted that: (1) developing countries have limited resources and experience in operating nuclear power plants; (2) most countries prefer to develop nonbinding guidelines, rather than legal measures, for assisting each other in the event of a nuclear accident; (3) little information on the extent and seriousness of safety-related incidents in foreign countries is available; (4) many countries may need outside assistance in the event a major radiation accident occurs; and (5) an international forum for sharing information on the operation of 80 percent of the world's nuclear reactors has been established.

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