NEA Monthly News Bulletin - May 2011

Biannual meeting of the OECD/NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy

On 28-29 April, the OECD/NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy discussed the main issues facing the Agency and decided on forthcoming activities and approaches to be adopted. After hearing about the latest IAEA activities from IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano, the Committee discussed and adopted the NEA programme of work, which will include a number of activities related to the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident in Japan. As part of the analysis of the accident and its consequences, the Agency will be examining nuclear safety, radiological protection and third party liability issues.

The committee also considered the request by Slovenia to join the NEA and its Data Bank. It decided to make a positive recommendation to the OECD Council to approve the accession. The OECD Council is scheduled to take its decision on 11 May.

The committee adopted a statement calling on governments and industry to work together to implement fundamental changes in the molybdenum-99 supply chain to ensure long-term reliability of supply.

Two new joint projects have been implemented in the nuclear safety area: the Loss of Forced Cooling (LOFC) Project and the Component Operational Experience, Degradation and Ageing Programme (CODAP).

Following presentations on several areas of NEA work, the meeting closed with a policy debate on small- and medium-sized reactors (SMRs). Several speakers noted efforts to provide particularly strong safety characteristics for these reactors, including in terms of non-proliferation, and considered that SMRs could be a viable option in some circumstances, for example in the cases of small grids, multiple applications (electricity, heat, water desalination) and in remote areas.