High-level conference on the future of nuclear energy
The International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century was organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in co-operation with the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), and was hosted by the Government of the Russian Federation through Rosatom in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 27-29 June 2013. The event was attended by some 500 participants representing 89 countries and 7 international organisations. An opening statement by the OECD Secretary-General A. Gurría was delivered by NEA Director-General L. Echávarri, who also moderated one of the conference's four main sessions which focused on Drivers for Deployment of Sustainable and Innovative Technology. Conference participants specifically recognised the significant contribution of the OECD/NEA to safety and economic analyses of nuclear power. At the closing press conference, L. Echávarri stressed inter alia that nuclear safety and transparent communication are fundamental to the continued use of nuclear energy.
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority joins the MDEP
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) is the latest nuclear regulatory body to join the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP). It participated in its first MDEP meeting as a new member on the occasion of the 21-23 May 2013 meeting of the MDEP Steering Technical Committee which was held in Helsinki, Finland. Read more....
GIF advances on safety design criteria
The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) governing body held its semi-annual meeting on 16-17 May 2013 in Beijing, China. Foremost among the significant outcomes, the GIF Policy Group (PG) reviewed and approved Phase I Safety Design Criteria that delineate the safety goals for Generation IV sodium-cooled fast reactors. It also decided on the commencement of Phase II of this effort for developing specific implementation guidelines with quantitative criteria. Of broader interest, the PG reached consensus on a strategic plan that has been under development for a year. It includes an updated technology roadmap and addresses improving internal collaboration and external engagement. Finally, member countries confirmed the PG's leadership changes. Current leadership includes Chairman John Kelly (United States), Technical Director Dohee Hahn (Republic of Korea), PG Vice Chairs Kazumi Aoto (Japan) and Christophe Behar (France), and Policy Director Pascal Anzieu (France). See the GIF website for updates, publications and information about the GIF's organisation.
International workshop on challenges and enhancements to nuclear safety defence in depth
An international Workshop on Challenges and Enhancements to Defence in Depth in Light of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident was jointly organised by the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and the NEA Committee on the Safety on Nuclear Installations (CSNI), with input from the NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH), on 5 June 2013 in Paris. About 100 participants from NEA member countries, India, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and Eurelectric held in-depth discussions on the defence-in-depth concept and its implementation in the post-Fukushima context. They also considered additional steps to be taken at the national and international levels to address the challenges identified and to make further enhancements to nuclear safety, along with future NEA activities in support of these processes.
Meeting of the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities
The 29th meeting of the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) was held on 3-4 June 2013. The Committee approved the completion of the Senior-level Task Group on Impacts of the Fukushima Accident (STG-FUKU) mandate. The final report on the "Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident: Summary of NEA and Members Response" was presented for approval. The Committee also noted the progress on the draft booklet on the Characteristics of an Effective Regulator, which will include discussions and outcomes from the forthcoming CNRA Workshop on Regulatory Approaches and the Characteristics of an Effective Regulator to be hosted by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in Stockholm, Sweden on 28-30 October 2013. More information is available at www.oecd-nea.org/nsd/workshops/wracer/.
Two new groups to follow up on Fukushima Daiichi lessons learnt
During its 6-7 June meeting, the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) continued to focus on activities related to lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Committee members discussed the CNRA report on the response of the NEA and its members to the accident, agreeing with the technical content and supporting the release of the report. Two new activities were also approved: first, a senior expert group will identify safety research opportunities related to ongoing Fukushima activities; secondly, a task group will determine what natural external events would benefit from international cooperative work. As part of its normal programme of work, the CSNI approved the release of eight technical reports and the initiation of seven new research tasks.
Probabilistic safety assessment of natural external hazards including earthquakes
Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the NEA established a list of high priority issues to be addressed in the short term which included external hazards. Accordingly, a workshop was organised by the CSNI Working Group on Risk Assessment and hosted by UJV Rez in Prague, Czech Republic on 17-19 June 2013. It addressed probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) of natural external hazards including earthquakes and brought together 51 participants from 19 countries and 2 international organisations. The workshop focused on the following topics: analysis of external hazard potential; specific features of analysis and modelling of particular natural external hazards; practices and research efforts on natural external event PSA; modeling of NPP response to natural external events in PSA; seismic risk analysis; and the use of external event PSA with a focus on the role of the regulatory body. A summary of the technical outcomes and conclusions is being prepared.
NEA-IAEA Uranium Group
The 49th meeting of the NEA-IAEA Uranium Group was hosted by the IAEA in Vienna on 12-14 June. Despite low prices for uranium due to the current well-supplied market, interest in Uranium Group activities remains high with 44 delegates from 33 countries in attendance. In addition to reviewing progress on the current report (the 25th in the Red Book series), delegates from some uranium producing countries reported that mine development plans were being delayed by unfavorable market conditions. However, a review of nuclear development policies and intentions continues to point to growth in global nuclear generating capacity through to 2035, particularly in the developing world. As a result, uranium demand is expected to increase over the longer term given the need to fuel existing reactors for several decades and the anticipated overall growth in nuclear generating capacity, despite nuclear power phase-out policies in some European countries.
Decommissioning cost estimation
The Decommissioning Cost Estimation Group (DCEG) of the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling held its sixth plenary meeting on 18-19 June 2013. Twenty-four participants from ten member countries discussed two ongoing projects: the practice of cost estimation for decommissioning and the methodology for international peer reviews of decommissioning cost studies. Two topical sessions on risk analysis in decommissioning costing and on learning curves were held. The main decommissioning cost drivers and their evolution over time, as well as the application of advanced cost and schedule controls in decommissioning projects were also presented and discussed. The DCEG has now accumulated six years of work dedicated to improving transparency, auditability and traceability in the costing of decommissioning projects.
Under the auspices of the NEA Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC), the Expert Group on Operational Safety (EG-OS) held its kick-off meeting on 24 June 2013. The aim of EG-OS is to identify, evaluate and help define international best practices in operating geological repositories for radioactive waste. Participants include waste management agencies, regulatory authorities, technical support organisations and research and development institutes. At the kick-off meeting, the EG-OS agreed on a programme of work for the coming two years which includes: fire assessment; the development of an NEA "hazard" database; the assessment of ventilation in underground facilities; the study of operational hazards in repositories undergoing both construction and waste placement; and the development of waste acceptance criteria.
Features, Events and Processes (FEP) Database
The NEA Features, Events and Processes (FEP) list, developed in 2000, is currently being updated by the FEP Task Group of the IGSC. It is envisaged that the final product will be a web-based database that is relevant to all stages of a repository development programme from inception to repository closure, to both safety assessors and individual topic experts, to all designs of geological disposal facilities, and to all categories of radioactive waste in geological disposal facilities. The task group held its project meeting on 19 June 2013 to discuss tasks undertaken to date. The features of this database, in its current state, were reviewed during this meeting and areas of improvement were discussed. It is anticipated that the database will be available in 2014.
Russia participates for first time in the Data Bank Management Committee
On 12 June 2013, Russia – the Data Bank's 24th member country – sent its first delegation to the meeting of the Executive Group (Data Bank Management Committee) of the Nuclear Science Committee. Participants reviewed inter alia the 2012 Data Bank activities, including Computer Programme Services, Nuclear Data Services and efforts to modernise the IT infrastructure of the NEA, as well as the proposal for the 2013-2014 Data Bank programme of work and budget. They also discussed and expressed their support for the extension of the current mandate for the Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion (JEFF) Project in order to develop a state-of-the-art version of the data library, JEFF-3.2.
New computer programs available
TRIPOLI-4 version 8.1, 3D general purpose continuous energy Monte Carlo Transport code.
IRPHE2012-HANDBOOK, International Handbook of Evaluated Reactor Physics Benchmark Experiments.
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