NEA Monthly News Bulletin - October 2013

New at the NEA

New at the NEA feature

Nuclear energy economics

On 20 September, the NEA organised the 10th meeting of the Working Party on Nuclear Energy Economics (WPNE) of the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC), which focused on progress on nuclear new build in relation to project structure, supply chain and financing. The meeting was held following the NEA's 19 September workshop on the role of electricity price stability and long-term financing for nuclear new build. The WPNE also provided advice on the other economics-related activities in the 2013-2014 NDC Programme of Work, namely the costs of nuclear accidents and the costs of decommissioning.

New publications

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident: OECD/NEA Nuclear Safety Response and Lessons Learnt
NEA No. 7161, 68 pages.

The Economics of the Back End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
NEA No. 7061, 188 pages.

Nuclear safety

Prague workshop on thick-walled concrete structures

On 17-19 September, the Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) Working Group on Integrity of Components and Structures (WGIAGE) held a workshop on non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of thick-walled concrete structures. The workshop, which was held in Prague, Czech Republic, was hosted by the Czech nuclear research institute ÚJV ŘEŽ and was attended by more than 30 participants representing 10 countries and a range of industry, research, academic and regulatory bodies. Thick-walled concrete structures are important to nuclear installations as they are typically used for seismically qualified structures that support and protect reactor systems, for example containment buildings. Workshop participants concluded that although good progress on developing NDE methodologies had been made since a previous workshop in 2008, more work is required to provide qualified techniques for determining the robustness of concrete structures. Areas identified for further collaboration will be discussed and pursued by the WGIAGE. Further information on the working group can be found on the WGIAGE web page.

Nuclear development

NEA workshop on new build financing

On 19 September, the NEA organised a workshop on the role of electricity price stability and long-term financing in nuclear new build. Organised by the NEA Working Party on Nuclear Energy Economics (WPNE), the workshop involved over 70 participants from national governments, academia, the private sector and international organisations such as the European Commission (EC), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Participants at this broad-ranging workshop discussed issues such as electricity market structures, equity versus debt financing, export credits and the potential role of international banks in new nuclear power plant projects. They also heard reactor vendors’ perspectives on financing new build, in addition to three case studies on new nuclear power projects at Akkuyu in Turkey, Barakah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Vogtle in the United States. During a special roundtable session, experts debated such topics as the challenge of nuclear power plant construction delays and the role of government in nuclear power financing.

Radioactive waste management

Task Group on Metadata for Repositories kicks off at the NEA

The kick-off meeting for the Task Group on Metadata for Repositories (TG-MetRep) was held on 5-6 September. The basic tenet of long-term data, information and records management is that “data is collected and managed for others to use it”. Individual scientists and research teams, as well as managers and communications specialists, need to be aware of this and document their work accordingly. This will be made easier by the work of the task group, which aims to bring about a better understanding of a key aspect of data management, namely the identification and management of systems of metadata within the field of radioactive waste disposal.  Over the course of time, the group will create specific registries and guidance on repository and safety case elements. It will be affiliated with the NEA Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) and will also be strongly linked to the NEA Expert Group on Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory across Generations (RK&M). The next meeting of the TG-MetRep will be held on 20-21 January 2014.

NEA Salt Club holds annual meeting

On 16 September, the NEA “Salt Club” held its 2nd annual meeting in Berlin, Germany together with the 4th US-German Geotechnical Workshop. Thirty-two participants from Germany, the Netherlands and the United States met to discuss the status of Salt Club projects and future activities, namely the collaboration between the NEA Thermochemical Database (TDB) Project and the German Thermodynamic Reference Database (THEREDA) to build a joint international thermochemical database. In the future, it is also envisaged that the Salt Club’s Features, Events and Processes (FEP) list will be incorporated into the NEA International FEP database. At the meeting, several presentations were given on studies on microbial activities in deep geological repository salt formations (such as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the United States, and Gorleben and Asse in Germany). Participants decided to make microbial activities one of the future working areas of the Salt Club and to co-ordinate research activities accordingly. The next meeting will be held on 18 March 2014 in Paris.

The Forum on Stakeholder Confidence reconvenes

On 17-19 September, the NEA Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) held its 14th regular meeting. The FSC welcomed new members from the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, who gave presentations on the societal aspects of managing radioactive waste, and heard updates from Finland, France, Japan and the United Kingdom. The Czech radioactive waste management authority RAWRA and the Chair of the Czech working group “Dialogue on the Deep Geological Repository Siting Process” also made a presentation on progress made there since the 2012 FSC national workshop and community visit in the Czech Republic. The meeting also included a topical session on the right of civil society to early involvement in decision making established by the Aarhus and Espoo Conventions. The FSC was informed about the “E-TRACK” and “TgBEPPa” initiatives by the European Commission and the European Nuclear Energy Forum respectively, which are intended to foster effective citizen participation in radioactive waste management in Europe. FSC delegates also reviewed the recent FSC publication Stakeholder Confidence in Radioactive Waste Management: An Annotated Glossary of Key Terms.

NEA Clay Club focuses on role of geoscience at annual meeting

On 24-26 September, the NEA “Clay Club” held its 23rd annual meeting in Horonobe, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. The meeting was hosted by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). Delegates and invited scientists shared their experiences in a topical session on the geoscience basis for communicating confidence in long-term prediction of geosphere (repository) performance, discussing key messages and the role of geoscience in communications. The meeting included a half-day site visit to the JAEA underground research laboratory on geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste, which is located in the sedimentary siliceous claystone of the Wakkanai formation. For 2014, the Clay Club decided that it will focus on diffusion in clay formations. The next meeting will be held in October 2014 in Bure, France to review the latest developments in the French underground research laboratory (URL) in clay.

Preservation of records, knowledge and memory across generations

On 24-26 September, the NEA Expert Group on the Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory across Generations (RK&M) held its 5th meeting. Preserving records, knowledge and memory across generations is needed to support lengthy and complex decision-making processes across the long operational and post-operational lifetimes of radioactive waste repositories. It is a recognised management task that spans unprecedented time horizons in which technical, scientific, societal and cultural information is interwoven. Participants at the meeting reviewed the work that has been achieved thus far, notably a number of strategic articles on key areas such as “Archives”, “Markers” and “Regulatory Aspects”. These articles will be placed on a wiki-based platform that is currently in the advanced stages of development. Participants also discussed future work, and plans were made for an international conference and dialogue to be held in the autumn of 2014.

Radiological protection

Expert Group on Water Chemistry and Source-term Management (EGWC)

The Expert Group on Water Chemistry and Source-term Management (EGWC) of the Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) held its final meeting on 23-24 September. The EGWC was established by the ISOE Management Board to prepare a technical report on information and practical experience available in the nuclear industry on addressing operational aspects of primary system water chemistry and source-term management of nuclear reactors with special emphasis on effects on the management of occupational exposures. The group also seeks to identify factors and aspects which play key roles in achieving good practices in water chemistry management and analysis on impact on worker doses and operational costs. The draft report was completed through intensive work of all group members nominated by ISOE participating countries, and was accomplished during the EGWC 2011-2013 meetings. The draft will be submitted for approval during the 23rd Annual Session of the ISOE Management Board in November 2013.

Professor Ryugo Hayano presents his work to the NEA

On 27 September, Tokyo University professor Ryugo Hayano visited the NEA and gave a presentation on his work and research following the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan. Prof. Hayano is well known in Japan for his direct, innovative support for the people of Fukushima Prefecture who were affected by the accident. Among other activities, he developed full-body scanners for adults and children as well as methods to determine the exposure of people from external and internal sources. Prof. Hayano, who has a following on Twitter of about 130 000 people from Japan and worldwide, was invited by the NEA following his interventions during the last International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Dialogue in Fukushima City, Japan, which the NEA is supporting.

First meeting of the Expert Group on Radiological Protection Science

The Expert Group on Radiological Protection Science (EGRPS) was created by the NEA Committee  on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) in May 2013 to clarify the current scientific understanding of the dose response relationship at low doses and dose rates, taking into account the ongoing work on low dose research by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative (MELODI) and the United States Department of Energy. The first EGRPS meeting was held on 12-13 September and was attended by about 20 delegates from 14 countries. It was agreed that work should begin with relevant aspects of the 1998 and 2007 CRPPH reports on the state of radiological protection science, and an outline for a new report has been established. The next meeting of the group is scheduled for 10-11 February 2014.

Nuclear installations undergoing decommissioning and third party liability

The NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) has been working on a request from the NEA Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) to develop new technical criteria for excluding nuclear installations being decommissioned from the requirements of the Paris Convention on Nuclear Third Party Liability. Under the auspices of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Exclusion of Nuclear Installations in Decommissioning from the Paris Convention (EGPC), the objective of this work has been to update criteria developed in 1990 to meet modern radiological protection standards. As a result of this meeting, the expert group has agreed on new criteria. The draft technical decision will be sent to the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling (WPDD) for validation from a practical and operability standpoint, before being sent to the CRPPH, the NLC and the NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy.

Nuclear law

International Nuclear Law Essentials coming soon

A few places remain in the NEA International Nuclear Law Essentials (INLE) programme, to be held on 21-25 October 2013 in Paris. The INLE is designed to provide professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the various inter-related legal issues bearing on the safe, efficient, secure and environmentally friendly use of nuclear energy. The INLE programme provides an intensive overview of the complex body of laws and legal regimes that comprise nuclear law and addresses current developments. Comprehensive presentations will be given by renowned specialists in nuclear law from international organisations, governments and private industry. For an application and additional information, please see and contact the NEA Secretariat by 11 October 2013.

Data Bank

NEA Data Bank releases JANIS 4

In September, the NEA released a new version of the Java-based nuclear data information system (JANIS). JANIS is a display program that facilitates access to bibliographical, experimental and evaluated nuclear databases hosted by the NEA Data Bank. JANIS offers powerful capabilities to display, compare and compute various types of nuclear data such as cross-sections, spectra, radioactive decay data and fission yields. JANIS 4 introduces a Web interface, and major new features to save and restore plots, tables, settings, etc., to load new data in a simple text format and to display fission yields on 2D colour maps. This new version and additional information are available on the JANIS web page.

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