Classification of reportable events
In the Federal Republic of Germany, reportable events at nuclear power plants have, since 1975, been notified to the nuclear regulatory authorities in accordance with the applicable version of the national reporting criteria and details of the events have been entered into a central register.
In addition to the official German reporting procedure pursuant to the Nuclear Safety Officer and Reporting Ordinance, reportable events are classified by the operators of nuclear power plants and research reactors according to the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The reporting categories describe how urgently the supervisory authority has to be informed and what safety-related significance the event has. The categories can be described in detail as follows:
|S||Events that must be reported to the supervisory authority immediately, in order for the authority to be able to launch an investigation or to prompt measures in a very short space of time, if necessary. This also includes events that reveal acute safety deficiencies.|
|E||Events that have to be reported to the supervisory authority within 24 hours, in order for the authority to be able to launch an investigation or to prompt measures in a short space of time, if necessary. This also includes events whose cause can be clarified within a short space of time and which must be repaired in due time, if necessary. Generally, these events are potentially – but not directly – significant events in terms of safety.|
|N||Events that must be reported to the supervisory authority within five working days in order for the authority to be able to identify potential weak points at an early stage. Generally, these events are of minor safety-related importance and go beyond individual routine operational events in specified plant state and operation.|
|V||Events taking place before the plant has been commissioned which must be reported within 10 days and about which the supervisory authority must be informed with respect to the future safe operation of the plant.|
The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) is the assessment scale used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
This scale is used to provide comprehensible information to the general public about
- the significance of a reportable event for the safety of the plant, and
- whether or not it had any radiological impact on people or the environment.
The International Nuclear Event Scale comprises eight levels:
- Levels 1 to 7 for events with high safety-related significance and
- Level 0 for events with low or without safety-related significance.
The IAEA members have undertaken to report events classified at Level 2 (incident) or above. Current INES reports are published on the IAEA website. The purpose of the INES system is to provide information swiftly to the public.