NEA Monthly News Bulletin

Latest news on the Fukushima Daiichi accident and NEA activities

Nuclear safety and regulation

Forum on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident

The NEA Forum on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Insights and Approaches was the first opportunity for top nuclear regulators and industry executives to discuss co-operation and improvement of regulatory approaches for enhancing the safe operation of nuclear power plants following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Held on 8 June, the Forum was opened by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, and by NEA Director-General Luis Echávarri. Approximately 200 participants from over 30 countries attended. Planned in conjunction with the Ministerial Meeting on Nuclear Safety held on 7 June and co-organised by the NEA and the French Presidency of the G8, the outcomes from this meeting directly informed discussions at the IAEA Ministerial Meeting held during the week of 20 June. Read the Key Concluding Messages here.

Nuclear safety committee meetings book-end Fukushima Forum

The NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) met on 6-7 June and 9-10 June respectively. Both meetings included in-depth discussions on addressing the preliminary observations derived from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi accident. The CNRA has established a senior task group to review the accident and to identify lessons learnt from the regulatory perspective which can be applied in domestic regulatory programmes. Both committees will continue to discuss the implications of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident during their December meetings.

International workshop on operation and inspection practices

On 14-16 June, the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) held a workshop on the use of operating experience in regulatory inspection programmes. The workshop was organised by the Working Group on Operating Experience (WGOE) and supported by the Working Group on Inspection Practices (WGIP). In attendance were 62 participants from 21 countries. The aim of the workshop was to exchange information on various means to utilise operational experience to inform regulatory inspection programmes and, similarly, to utilise inspection findings in the regulatory operating experience feedback programmes. Workshop participants also discussed operating experience and inspection insights on the non-conformance of spare parts.

Nuclear development

59th session of the Nuclear Development Committee

The Nuclear Development Committee (NDC) held its 59th session on 9-10 June 2011. The two main topics for discussion were the impact of the Fukushima accident on the Programme of Work (PoW) and a review of current activities for 2011-2012. Each country provided an update on the current status of nuclear development in light of the Fukushima accident. The committee agreed on the need to review current draft reports to reflect the implications of the accident and discussed activities to assist governments in making subsequent policy decisions. It endorsed steps to finalise the reports on Trends in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle; Education and Training: Towards a Competent Workforce; Carbon Pricing, Power Markets and the Competitiveness of Nuclear Energy; and Climate Change and Nuclear Energy Build Rates; and agreed to incorporate the second mandate of the High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes into the NDC PoW.

Nuclear law

Japanese experts discuss nuclear liability post-Fukushima

On 15 June, Japanese experts attending the NEA Nuclear Law Committee meeting described Japan's nuclear liability system and its application to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Mr. Toyohiro Nomura, Professor at Gakushuin University and member of the "Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation" and Mr. Taro Hokugo, Deputy-Director of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), gave an overview of the compensation process. According to the Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage, the operator of the installation, in this case Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), is exclusively liable to compensate victims who only need to demonstrate a causal link between the accident and the damage suffered. The Dispute Reconciliation Committee has been established under the Act to mediate disputes arising from such compensation claims and to assess nuclear damage as necessary to settle such disputes.

Nuclear science

Nuclear Science Committee reviews working parties, creates two new expert groups

The annual meeting of the Nuclear Science Committee was held on 15-17 June. Status reports on each of the five nuclear science working parties were reviewed, covering activities in the areas of nuclear data evaluation, the fuel cycle, multi-scale modelling, criticality safety and reactor systems. Mandates for two new expert groups reporting to the Working Party on Scientific Issues of Reactor Systems (WPRS) were reviewed and approved. These expert groups will carry out technical work programmes on fuel performance and radiation transport. This year's topic for in-depth discussion was devoted to an activity of the WPRS Expert Group on Uncertainty Analysis in Modelling, which is developing a framework for estimating uncertainties in the modelling of transient events in light water reactors. During the meeting, participants also considered how the lessons emerging from the Fukushima Daiichi accident might impact programmes of work across the NEA Nuclear Science Division. A proposal to form a new International Database on Thermodynamics of Advanced Fuels was reviewed and endorsed by the committee.