NEA Monthly News Bulletin - October 2012

New at the NEA

Belgian safety strategy for radioactive waste surface disposal facility found to be "credible and robust"

On 17 September, the NEA presented to the Belgian authorities the outcome of an international peer review on "Key aspects of the safety case for a radioactive waste surface disposal facility in Belgium". The review examines the credibility and robustness of the long-term safety strategy and assessment documented in the draft safety case being prepared by the national radioactive waste management agency, ONDRAF/NIRAS. The draft safety case is being prepared for a license application for the construction and operation of a surface disposal facility for short-lived, low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in the municipality of Dessel.
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New publications

Nuclear Energy Data 2012/ Données sur l'énergie nucléaire 2012
ISBN: 978-92-64-177857, 84 pages.

Challenges in Long-term Operation of Nuclear Power Plants
ISBN: 978-92-64-99187-3, 32 pages.

Également disponible en français :
Défis de l'exploitation à long terme des centrales nucléaires
ISBN: 978-92-64-99188-0, 32 pages.

Nuclear Fuel Safety Criteria Technical Review
ISBN: 978-92-64-99178-1, 80 pages.

Nuclear safety and regulation

Fuel Incident Notification and Analysis System

On 24-25 September, the NEA hosted a meeting of the national co-ordinators of the Fuel Incident Notification and Analysis System (FINAS). The FINAS is an international system jointly operated by the NEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and serves to provide notification of, and to analyse, safety-significant events at all types of fuel cycle facilities (FCFs). More than 30 participants attended this bi-annual meeting to evaluate the system, discuss its improvement and review 12 new reports and their lessons learnt, which originated mostly from the area of human factor and organisation. These reports are intended to provide national co-ordinators with information which will contribute to the safe operation of FCFs.

Nuclear development

Climate change and the power sector

On 20 September, the NEA participated in the Eurelectric conference on climate change and the power sector. At the conference, participants stressed the importance of developing consistent energy and water policies to address objectives such as lowering carbon emissions and achieving security of energy supply. One of the issues discussed was the potential vulnerability of thermal power plants, including nuclear power plants, which depend on water for cooling purposes. This issue is not specific to Europe, as the record heat and drought conditions in the United States this summer have shown. At its next meeting in October, the NEA Nuclear Development Committee will discuss the impact of such conditions on the operation of nuclear power plants, and the cost of improving the resilience of the latter through adaptation measures.

Nuclear science

Partitioning and transmutation

On 24-27 September, the 12th Information Exchange Meeting on Partitioning & Transmutation (12IEMPT) was held in Prague, Czech Republic. The meeting was organised by the NEA, hosted by the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) of the Czech Republic, and co-sponsored by the European Commission (EC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Participants stressed that partitioning and transmutation (P&T) remains a major concern for research and development, even in the post-Fukushima context which is strongly focused on safety. This is the case in countries that continue to develop nuclear energy programmes, where the associated R&D is looking at the long-term benefits of P&T in terms of reduction of the geological disposal footprint (which has an indirect positive influence on public acceptance of nuclear energy). It is equally the case in countries which are phasing out nuclear power, where R&D is oriented towards finding effective solutions to reduce the amount of high-level radioactive waste to be disposed of in a final repository within a shorter timescale, typically a few decades.

Shielding aspects of accelerators, targets and irradiation facilities

On 11-13 September, the NEA co-organised the 11th Workshop on Shielding Aspects of Accelerators, Targets and Irradiation Facilities (SATIF-11) in Tsukuba, Japan. The event was hosted by the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) and also co-organised by the Radiation Science and Technology Division of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan (AESJ). The main objectives of the workshop were to promote the exchange of information among experts in the field of accelerator shielding and related topics, and to identify areas for international co-operation. The SATIF workshop is also part of the work programme of the Expert Group on Radiation Transport and Shielding (EGRTS) of the NEA Working Party on Scientific Issues of Reactor Systems (WPRS).

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