Time: February 1st, 2022 at 2 p.m
Location: Vienna BOKU Campus.
As explained in pilgrim’s diary No.486, INRAG is a group of private experts who assess nuclear power plant risk. It is an independent and free network that does not depend on the government or any specific force. It is a precious organization in global village.
Before I start winter pilgrimage I thought of a meeting with the representative of INRAG, headquartered in Vienna. Actual contact proceeded ten days before the meeting, however, because I needed to tell them exact date of arrival in Vienna. One week before the meeting, I could finalize the meeting on February 1st by Ms. Oda Becker.
The German interpretation was commissioned to Korean Students Association in Vienna, and I was able to meet a young man who was a student in Ph.D. program of mechanical engineering. He was an experienced interpreter.
I have emailed the following question in advance, because I heard that they are busy even with European work.
“Unlike Europe, Northeast Asia and Korea are in a very dangerous state because there is no cross-monitoring of nuclear power plant risks. In Korea, it is still unknown which government will be installed after March. But if the new government becomes alert to nuclear risks and asks INRAG for cooperation, how will INRAG respond?”
The meeting began with President Müllner’s introduction to INRAG.
“I read the inquiry in your e-mail in advance. INRAG is a voluntary organization that was made naturally. It is a network where each person shares knowledge and experience while working as an engineer in their own workplace or as an independent researcher/consultant. There are many members with experience in nuclear power plants. Many of them recognized in-situ problems and participated in our group with a critical attitude.
Members participate independently and voluntarily. There are many international personalities in INRAG. 30 organisations are members of the INRAG network. Former nuclear power plant workers and experts from Germany, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, the United States and many other countries participate. Three of them have worked in government offices. Well-known personalities such as Professor M.V. Ramana from the University of British Columbia and Mycle Schneider from France are also represented.
For example, there was a project to assess the lifespan of all ageing nuclear power plants in Europe. And in 2018, a conference was held on the cracks in the reactor pressure vessel of two Belgian nuclear power plants (Doel and Tihange) that became a problem. Recently, a research on risk assessment due to COVID-19 was also conducted by some members.”
I recorded my question and his answer.
Q) Among the explanatory cases, who commissioned the evaluation of the entire aging nuclear power plants in Europe?
A) It was not commissioned by the European Union or any country, but by a coalition organization of local governments within each country. Local governments were concerned about the risk of nuclear power plants.
Q) What is the relationship with ENSREG (European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group)?
A) We stand apart from them. They are different from our network, because it is an official body of governments.
Q) Is the ENSREG report reliable?
A) We rate ENSREG reports as credible. However, the reports may not cover everything.
Q) I think a network like INRAG would be more reliable than companies in assessing the risks of nuclear power plants. What topics are your members most interested in at the moment?
A) We are doing research on nuclear reactors, thermal-hydraulic simulations of nuclear power plants in case of a nuclear accident, proliferation and transmutation and much more.
Q) You said that you had off-line meetings twice a year before COVID-19. How is it now?
A) There is also a good aspect of going online. We also did quite a few lectures on YouTube.
Q) What is the best time of year for you to come to Korea?
A) June, July, September and October are good. European members generally like that time. If you requests an on-line meeting, we will actively review it with the members.
For reference, Chairman Müllner’s title at the University Research Institute is as follows.
Deputy Head of the Institute of Safety/Security and Risk Sciences (ISR), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria