NEA Monthly News Bulletin - May 2014

New at the NEA

Enhancing global nuclear safety

New at the NEA feature - Enhancing global nuclear safety

On 8 April 2014, the NEA in co-operation with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) of  Japan held an international conference on global nuclear safety enhancement in Tokyo, Japan. High-level experts from nuclear regulatory authorities in France, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States reviewed international developments in nuclear safety since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011, as the international community works to strengthen nuclear safety at the global level. At the conference, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría spoke about sound energy policies for economic and social development and insisted on very high levels of safety as the first condition for using nuclear power. NRA Chairman, Dr. Shunichi Tanaka also stressed the importance of the independence, technical capability and transparency of the regulatory authorities, as well as a strong safety culture. See the conference press release.

OECD/NEA Director-General recognised by the Governments of Spain and Japan

On the eve of his retirement from the Agency on 30 April 2014, Mr. Luis E. Echávarri, former NEA Director-General, received official recognition from the Governments of Spain and Japan for his contributions to international service and co-operation in the field of nuclear energy. On 22 April 2014, the Government of Spain awarded him introduction into the Order of Isabella the Catholic. On 29 April 2014, the Government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun. Further details on the latter are available in the press releases issued by the Permanent Delegation of Japan to the OECD and the NEA.

Mr. William Magwood has been appointed as the next Director-General of the NEA. Pending his arrival on 1 September 2014, Dr. Thierry Dujardin is Acting NEA Director-General.

Nuclear safety and regulation

The robustness of electrical systems of nuclear power plants

On 1-4 April 2014, the NEA in co-operation with the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) organised a workshop of the Task Group on Robustness of Electrical Systems of Nuclear Power Plants in Light of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident (ROBELSYS). Held under the auspices of the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI), the event attracted over 100 participants from nuclear regulatory authorities, nuclear power plant operators, manufacturers and other organisations. The workshop provided a forum for the exchange of information on the robustness of safety-related electrical systems in nuclear power plants around the world. Presentations were made on how regulatory rules, operational practices and systems at nuclear installations are being improved following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which illustrated the importance of a reliable source of power for the prevention of severe accidents. Participants agreed that due to the ongoing improvements being made in this area, the exchange of information among NEA member countries should continue. A report on the workshop findings is to be issued in the latter half of 2014.

International nuclear regulatory inspection practices

On 7-10 April, the NEA in co-operation with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) organised a workshop on International Nuclear Regulatory Inspection Practices in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the United States. Held by the NEA Working Group on Inspection Practices (WGIP), the workshop provided a forum for inspectors from around the world to exchange practices and insights on current issues. Over 50 participants from 19 countries attended, discussing experience from the inspection of licensee's outage activities (including fire protection programmes), event response inspections, and the impact of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident on inspection programmes. A report on the workshop findings is to be issued later in 2014.

Regulators invite external stakeholders to public communication workshop

On 9 April 2014, the NEA in collaboration with the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) held a workshop on public communication by nuclear regulatory organisations (NROs). Nearly 50 participants from 18 countries attended the workshop at the ASN in Paris, which was held under the auspices of the NEA Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC). Participants included a wide range of European stakeholders such as the media, communication experts, representatives of local information committees and NGOs. The aim of the workshop was to improve NRO communication by better understanding stakeholders' perceptions, needs and expectations, and to discuss the constraints of traditional and social media in NRO communication strategies. A report on the workshop findings is to be issued in the latter half of 2014, and a second workshop is to be held in April 2015 in the United States.

Nuclear development

Nuclear Development Committee sets new activities

On 23-24 April 2014, the NEA Nuclear Development Committee met to discuss the prioritisation of activities for the 2015-2016 programme of work. Four new activities on the total costs of electricity generation, non-energy uses of nuclear, the costs of interim storage of spent fuel and dealing with system costs in decarbonising electrical systems were accepted. Other proposals were to be further discussed before final endorsement. The Committee also reviewed the status of the current programme of work and held two special sessions which examined nuclear development in China and the strategy of the Russian Federation for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Radiological protection

Regional expectations guide the ISOE for the future

On 9-11 April 2014, the latest regional symposium of the Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) was held in Bern, Switzerland. The ISOE is jointly sponsored by the NEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and supported by four Technical Centres (Asia, Europe, North America and the IAEA). The symposium, attended by 155 participants from 21 countries, was organised by the European Technical Centre. Participants concluded that collective radiation exposure should not be seen as the only indicator of the efficiency of radiological protection programmes at nuclear power plants and that new radiological protection indicators should be developed. In addition, they found that the multi-disciplinary work environment is enlarging and needs innovative approaches to enhance sustainability. Source term management is another topic of increasing interest which requires international feedback from past experience. Participants also concluded that the ISOE community has a major role in fostering the incorporation of occupational radiation protection in emergency plans. The proceedings of the symposium will be made available on the ISOE website. The next regional symposium will take place in September 2014 in the Republic of Korea.

Nuclear science

Improved plutonium-239 nuclear data in the resonance region

The NEA Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co-operation (WPEC) provides a worldwide framework for co-operative activities among major nuclear data evaluation projects. WPEC Subgroup 34 was established to solve a general discrepancy when calculating criticality benchmarks with plutonium using the most recent evaluated data libraries. This international effort enabled the delivery of an improved set of resonance parameters up to 2.5 keV. In addition, the large fluctuations in the averaged multiplicity of prompt fission neutrons due to the two-step (n,γf) process were correctly reproduced. The performance of the new plutonium-239 evaluation was tested over a broad set of integral benchmarks. An overall good agreement was achieved between the calculations and the experimental results. The final report, entitled Co-ordinated Evaluation of Plutonium-239 in the Resonance Region, and more information on related activities are available online.

Data Bank

Computer program services

Training courses

New computer programs available



XSUN-2013, Windows interface environment for transport and sensitivity-uncertainty software TRANSX-2, PARTISN and SUSD3D



SACALC-ELLIPSOID, Calculates the average solid angle subtended by a ellipsoid solid or surface



SWORD 5.0, Software for Optimization of Radiation Detectors

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