Minor actinide burning in thermal reactors
The NEA Working Party on Scientific Issues of Reactor Systems (WPRS) has recently completed its study on Minor Actinide Burning in Thermal Reactors. The publication provides an introduction to minor actinide nuclear properties and discusses some of the arguments in favour of minor actinide recycling, as well as the potential role of thermal reactors in this regard. Various technical issues and challenges are examined from the fuel cycle, operations, fuel designs, core management and safety/dynamics responses to safety and economics. The focus of the report is on the general conclusions of recent research that could be applied to thermal reactors. Further research and development needs are also considered, with summaries of findings and recommendations for the direction of future R&D efforts. Read the report.
New publication on nuclear energy data
Nuclear Energy Data is the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency's annual compilation of statistics and country reports documenting the status of nuclear power in the OECD area. Information provided by member country governments includes statistics on installed generating capacity, total electricity produced by all sources and by nuclear power, nuclear energy policies and fuel cycle developments, as well as projected generating capacity and electricity production to 2035, where available. Total electricity generation at nuclear power plants and the share of electricity production from nuclear power plants declined in 2012 as a result of operational issues at some facilities and suspended operation at all but two reactors in Japan. Governments committed to maintaining nuclear power in the energy mix pursued initiatives to increase nuclear generating capacity. Further details on these and other developments are provided in the publication's numerous tables, graphs and country reports. Download the PDF.
Meeting of the NEA Nuclear Development Committee
On 30-31 October 2013, the NEA Nuclear Development Committee held its regular meeting, which included discussions on the French energy transition and associated future energy scenarios, as well as the recommendations from the International Energy Agency (IEA) for four practical actions to limit the increase in global CO2 emissions. Updates were presented by 11 of the NEA member countries, the IEA, the European Commission (EC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on their energy programmes, in addition to the status of small modular reactor development in the United States. On the second day of the meeting, the committee reviewed activities in the 2013-2014 programme of work and held special sessions on the costs of nuclear accidents and on the outcomes of the second mandate of the High-Level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR). A new project on innovations in water reactor technologies was approved, as were the revised mandates of the Working Party on Nuclear Energy Economics (WPNE) and the HLG-MR.
NEA-IAEA Uranium Group
On 6-8 November 2013, the NEA held the 50th meeting of the NEA-IAEA Uranium Group. The primary focus of the meeting was the preparation of the next edition of the "Red Book" (Uranium 2014: Resources, Production and Demand, the 25th in the series). It also included a special commemorative session devoted to Uranium Group history and achievements, and the industry view of future uranium demand. Forty-nine delegates from 30 countries participated in the meeting, including representatives from the Euratom Supply Agency, the World Nuclear Association, the IAEA and the NEA. Interim data shows that uranium resources and production have increased despite declining prices since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Uranium demand is expected to increase as reactors under construction are connected to the grid, reactors in Japan are restarted, inventory that has built up since Japanese reactors have been idled clears the market and as secondary sources decline in importance.
NEA Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling
On 18-20 November 2013, the NEA Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling (WPDD) met to discuss a range of decommissioning issues in NEA member countries. The meeting involved over 30 presentations and attracted nearly 60 participants from 22 delegations, including the European Commission (EC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A special session on decommissioning in Russia presented the legal and regulatory framework in the country, the general approach to decommissioning costing and the current status, plans and innovations in decommissioning. Delegates also participated in a topical session on the technical and strategic considerations of the preparation for decommissioning in a transition period. The meeting addressed the research and development aspects of the Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning programme, reviewed the status of WPDD work and also launched a new Task Group on Nuclear Site Restoration, which is to focus on the strategic aspects of this element of decommissioning projects. The next meeting will be held in 2014 in Russia.
International co-operative programme on decommissioning
On 21-22 November 2013, the management board of the International Co-operative Programme for the Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information concerning Nuclear Installation Decommissioning Projects (CPD) held a meeting to review the work undertaken by the programme's technical advisory group in 2013. The 2014 work plan was also discussed, and participants received an update on decommissioning-related activities in CPD and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member countries. The CPD Agreement was renewed for the period 2014-2018 and was sent out for signature to the members.
International Symposium on Radiation Safety Management
On 6-8 November 2013, the second International Symposium on Radiation Safety Management (ISRSM) was held in Daejeon in the Republic of Korea. The symposium, attended by nearly 180 professionals, was organised jointly by the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Central Research Institute (KHNP-CRI) and the Korean Waste Society. The symposium was co-sponsored by the NEA. The keynote lecture on "Future worldwide challenges in decommissioning and radiological protection" was given by the head of the NEA Radiological Protection and Radioactive Waste Management Division, and the work of the Agency in the field of safety assessment for high-level waste repositories was presented in the session on "Radioactive waste treatment and disposal technology". The symposium also addressed the waste management and decommissioning challenges at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant units 1-4.
Information System on Occupational Exposure
On 20-21 November 2013, the annual meeting of the Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) management board was attended by participants from nuclear electricity utilities and national regulatory authorities from 14 countries. The management board reviewed achievements in 2013 and the programme of work for 2014, and also approved a number of actions such as the removal of restrictions for regulatory authority users of the ISOE database, a new MADRAS analysis of the database, a consolidated report on the ISOE Technical Centres performance indicators, two expert group reports (see below) and the organisation of regional symposia in the United States and Switzerland. A new management board Chair and Vice-Chair were also elected. In addition, the management board is to begin the process of establishing a new joint working group in the field of decommissioning with the International Co-operative Programme for the Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information concerning Nuclear Installation Decommissioning Projects (CPD). Both the ISOE and the CPD are joint undertakings of the NEA. For further information, see the ISOE and CPD web pages.
ISOE approves expert group reports on radiological protection
On 20-21 November 2013, the management board of the Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) approved two expert group reports. The first report on "Radiation Protection Aspects of Primary Water Chemistry and Source-term Management" outlines the current status of knowledge, technology and experience in this field. The second report on "Occupational Radiation Protection in Severe Accident Management and Post-accident Recovery" is an interim report and will be finalised during an ISOE international workshop in June 2014. The objective of this report is to identify best practice in occupational radiation protection approaches. The limitations to developing effective management and national experience in relation to severe accident management strategies are to be incorporated into the final version. The ISOE international workshop will be announced through the NEA ISOE and ISOE Network websites.
NEA participates in nuclear law conference in India
On 18-22 November 2013, the National Law University Delhi in co-operation with the Nuclear Law Association of India sponsored a course on nuclear law at the university's campus in New Delhi, India. International and Indian experts gave lectures on a range of nuclear law subjects such as non‑proliferation, radiological protection, nuclear safety and regulation, transport and third party liability. The Head of the NEA Legal Affairs Section gave presentations on the organisation of regulatory bodies and approaches to effective regulation and stakeholder involvement. Some 30 participants, including law students, professionals in the Indian nuclear industry, government officials and academics attended the course.
Kick-off meeting of the CIELO pilot project
On 5-8 November 2013, the NEA, the European Commission and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (United States) co-organised the 7th Workshop on Nuclear Measurements, Evaluations and Applications (NEMEA) at the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Geel, Belgium. The workshop was dedicated to international collaboration on nuclear data and hosted the kick-off meeting of the NEA pilot project on a Collaborative International Evaluated Library Organisation (CIELO) established under the auspices of the NEA Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co-operation (WPEC). The CIELO pilot project aims to foster nuclear data advances by using the expertise of the international nuclear data community. During the meeting, experts from major nuclear data evaluation projects reviewed the status of planned and completed contributions for the CIELO pilot isotopes (hydrogen-1, oxygen-16, iron-56, uranium-235, uranium-238 and plutonium-239). More information on the CIELO pilot project and other WPEC activities is available on the WPEC web page.
Nuclear Data Week 2013
On 25-29 November 2013, the NEA hosted a Nuclear Data Week to review and co-ordinate activities in the field of nuclear data measurement, evaluation and validation for nuclear energy applications. More than 100 experts from 18 countries and international organisations took part in the meetings. A workshop on nuclear data measurements was co-organised with the French NEEDS initiative, under the auspices of the NEA Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion File (JEFF) project, to promote co-operation between experimental data producers and users with the objective of further improving the JEFF evaluated library. The workshop was followed by the bi-annual meeting of the JEFF project to review progress of recent data evaluation work, to discuss feedback from users and to co-ordinate the release of the JEFF-3.2 library. Experts from JEFF and other major evaluation projects also participated in the kick-off meeting of subgroup 39 of the Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co-operation (WPEC), which is to study how to develop methodologies for providing feedback from nuclear and covariance data adjustment for improvement of nuclear data files.
ICSBEP-2013, International Criticality Safety Benchmark Experiment Handbook
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