Press release
Paris, 5 January 2000


NEA reports no safety problems in nuclear facilities during the millenium rollover

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) announced today that no Y2K safety-related problems in nuclear facilities had been reported during the transition period to 2000, demonstrating the effectiveness of the preparations made by the nuclear community worldwide.

An NEA worldwide information exchange system - the Y2K Early Warning System (YEWS) - specially set up for this purpose between nuclear regulators, nuclear plant operators and governments, provided an up-to-date accounting of the status of nuclear facilities during the transition to the new millennium. The system, which commenced operation on 30 December 1999, monitored and exchanged near "real-time" Y2K information of nuclear facilities operations over the millennium period, receiving reports from some 300 nuclear facilities from 29 different countries. Average reporting time was 20 to 30 minutes following the date change in the respective time zones of each country. Over 38 countries and approximately 500 regulators and licensees took part in YEWS.

A total of 14 non-safety related incidents were reported during the first 24 hours of the rollover but it is unclear at this time as to whether these problems were Y2K related. Further investigations are currently underway to determine the root cause. YEWS will continue to operate in a slightly modified version, until March 2000, as a precaution against minor degradation problems.

YEWS was developed by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a secure, proprietary, Internet-based communications system and became international through the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA). Participation in YEWS was open to all countries, including non-OECD members.

Participating countries included: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. National and international organisations included: the European Commission (EC), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), the International Union of Producers and Distributors of Electrical Energy (UNIPEDE), the European Atomic Forum (FORATOM), the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Related links

Nuclear safety technology and regulation

Press release – International workshop to enhance nuclear industry's preparedness for the passage to the year 2000 (Y2K) (3 February 1999)

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