Challenges and enhancements to safety culture of the regulatory body
On 24 June 2015, NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, delivered key messages at the European Nuclear Young Generation Forum 2015 (ENYGF) in Paris, France, on Changing Electricity Markets: the Role of Nuclear Energy. During his presentation, Mr Magwood spoke about the future of nuclear energy and the role and responsibilities of today's young generation in realising that future. He stressed the importance of overcoming obstacles at the policy and public levels and the key areas that need more focus and attention, such as safety culture and the role of nuclear energy in climate change. The NEA was also represented at the Forum in the panel discussion on changing electricity markets.
NEA official visit to Russia
The NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV and three members of senior staff made an official visit to Russia from 29 June to 3 July 2015 to discuss ongoing and future co‑operation under NEA auspices. The visit was organised by the State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom" and meetings were held with Rosatom, with other important institutions present, the nuclear regulatory authority Rostechnadzor, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kurchatov Institute and the MEPhI National Nuclear Research University. A signing ceremony was held during which Rosatom Chief Executive Officer Mr Sergey Kirienko signed the ten‑year extension of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Framework Agreement. A visit was also organised to the Leningrad nuclear power plant where the NEA Director‑General and staff were able to tour both the operating units at LNPP‑1 and the units under construction at LNPP‑2. All meetings and visits were very informative and constructive, and took place in a spirit of openness and mutual benefit from this technical‑level co‑operation.
Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP) updates
The MDEP Policy Group (PG), chaired by Petteri Tiippana, Director General the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), held a meeting on 4 June 2015 to review MDEP accomplishments and to prepare its mid‑ and long‑term strategy based on the needs of the participating regulators as well as on the messages received from its stakeholders. The PG recognised that MDEP is a very valuable initiative that should contribute to further enhancing the safety of new reactors. Participants also agreed that MDEP should continue after its current term, while at the same time keeping an approach of periodic assessment. In light of the recent creation of new design‑specific working groups, MDEP will focus more on related activities, such as safety reviews of different designs being licensed, constructed and commissioned in the member regulators' countries. It will also enhance co‑operation with other organisations examining generic issues for new reactors.
International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC)
IFNEC is a forum for co‑operation among participating countries to explore mutually beneficial approaches to ensure that the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes proceeds in a manner that is efficient and meets the highest standards of safety, security and non‑proliferation. Following the approval of the NEA Steering Committee on 23 April 2015, the NEA has accepted the invitation of the Executive Committee of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) to become the Technical Secretariat for this initiative, in a similar role that the NEA has in the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP). The current secretariat functions, supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE), will be gradually handed over in the coming months, in the run up to the preparation of the 2015 Executive Committee meeting, which will take place in Romania on 23 October 2015.
The NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) held its biannual meeting on 1‑2 June 2015. The Committee approved several new reports, including the Second Construction Experience Synthesis Report 2011‑2014; the Report of the Survey on Construction Oversight; Nuclear Regulatory Organisation and Communication Strategies; Update of the Use of International Operating Experience Feedback for Improving Nuclear Safety; and The Role of the Inspector during an Emergency: Addendum to the Inspection of Emergency Arrangements. Committee members also approved the formation of a new CNRA and CSNI Ad hoc Group on the Safety of Advanced Reactors (GSAR), which will be responsible for addressing regulatory and research activities on advanced reactors and associated installations (e.g. sodium fast reactor, high‑temperature gas reactor). Other highlights of the meeting included the report on the activities of the Senior‑level Task Group on Defence‑in‑Depth (STG‑DiD) and the Senior‑level Task Group on the Safety Culture of the Regulatory Body (STG‑SCRB).
Challenges and enhancements to the safety culture of the regulatory body
On 3 June 2015, the CNRA hosted a workshop on Challenges and Enhancements to the Safety Culture of the Regulatory Body, with the support of the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Instalations (CSNI) and the NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH). The workshop highlighted safety culture priorities, principles and implementation challenges for nuclear regulatory bodies, with the aim of helping to enhance their safety culture. It featured opening remarks by NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, CNRA Chair Jean-Christophe Niel, CSNI Chair Brian Sheron and CRPPH Chair Michael Boyd. The opening session provided an overview of the current status of safety culture, together with presentations and discussions on priorities and challenges. The main session then focused on principles and implementation of safety culture, as well as associated challenges and the enhancements being considered. The workshop concluded with a session that summarised main findings and conclusions thus far and outlined paths forward for safety culture.
Safety of nuclear installations
The biannual meeting of the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) was held on 4‑5 June 2015. As part of its normal programme of work, the Committee approved six reports, the proceedings of a workshop that addressed the lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi accident on supporting human performance under extreme conditions and a summary report of a benchmark study of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The Committee also agreed that there should be a kick‑off meeting for a new working group on safety of electrical systems, which will address a number of findings from the accident and ensure that member countries are supported in ensuring nuclear plants have robust electrical systems that resist multiple failures due to transients and external events.
Benchmark Study of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (BSAF)
The initial meeting for Phase 2 of the NEA BSAF Project was held in Japan from 22 to 27 June 2015 and was attended by over 50 representatives from 10 countries. The BSAF aims at improving the understanding and modelling of accident progression at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. In its second phase, the time frame under consideration is being extended to about one month from the start of the accident and the behaviour of fission products is being added to the scope. Participants at the meeting discussed the lessons learnt from Phase 1, as well as the challenges regarding the availability of data and uncertainties with boundary conditions. Participants were also given a summary of recent findings from on-site investigations at the plant and provided with an opportunity to visit one of the undamaged reactors (unit 5) and to gain first‑hand knowledge of the reactor configuration. The meetings closed with a consensus on the next steps for the participants and the operating agent and on the time frame and expected scope for future meetings.
Uncertainties in decommissioning cost estimation
The NEA Decommissioning Cost Estimation Group (DCEG) held its annual meeting on 16‑17 June 2015. The main topic discussed at the meeting was the preliminary draft of the report on uncertainties in decommissioning cost estimation, which is being jointly prepared by NEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Two scenarios have been developed to illustrate specific issues relevant to consideration and analysis of estimating uncertainties and risks in decommissioning cost estimation: one for decommissioning cost estimates for a nuclear facility at an early stage and another for a cost estimate for a forthcoming or ongoing decommissioning project. Future work will focus on further elaborating and refining the scenarios and the terminology used, including appropriate case studies and developing a description of accompanying supporting information and analyses that could enhance understanding of and confidence in an estimate. The report is intended to provide guidance for producers of cost estimates, as well as for decision‑makers, and is expected to be issued by the end of 2016.
Radiological protection aspects of decommissioning
On 8‑9 June 2015, the new ISOE Working Group on Radiological Protection Aspects of Decommissioning Activities at Nuclear Power Plants (WGDECOM) held its first meeting. Participants discussed the planned activities of the working group and identified the areas of operational radiological protection for nuclear power plants that are in the process of or are planning decommissioning. They also identified the operational data that can be collected through the ISOE databases to suggest trends and aspects that can be studied and used for benchmarking as a starting point for more in‑depth analyses. The meeting also featured a joint session with the NEA Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling (WPDD) in order to facilitate information exchange on planned activities.
Workshop on Science and Values in Radiological Protection Decision‑Making
The fourth NEA Workshop on Science and Values in Radiological Protection Decision Making was held on 9‑11 June 2015 in Moscow, Russian Federation, hosted by the State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom" (ROSATOM), the Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA) and the A.I. Burnazyan Federal Medical‑Biophysical Centre (SRC-IBR). The workshop featured discussions of the current status of radiological protection research in the Russian Federation. Participants also discussed the values aspects involved in deciding who and for how long public and worker medical surveillance should be carried out, how to use effective dose and to integrate a notion of individual risk, and how to judge when optimisation is sufficient. Discussions highlighted the significant ongoing epidemiological work on Mayak workers and members of the public, the importance of long‑term, post‑accident health surveillance and the need to enhance the radiological protection toolbox with a better notion of an individual's risks, as well as the diverse approaches used to judge when protection is optimised. The summary report is planned to be issued in 2015.
The NEA International Nuclear Emergency Exercise INEX‑5 hosted a co‑ordination meeting for national exercise organisers on 16‑17 June 2015 in order to review the exercise progress, to present national arrangements and national objectives to be added to the exercise concept (if any) and to discuss and organise regional play arrangements. INEX‑5 has been designed to test the nuclear emergency management aspects of notification, communications and interfaces between and among countries and international organisations during the early phase of a release from a nuclear power plant due to a natural disaster. Meeting participants noted that the INEX‑5 exercise is not intended to replace the formal communications mechanisms and channels that would be used during the response to a nuclear incident and does not require formal national, regional or international communications channels to be tested as part of the exercise. The INEX‑5 participating countries are also welcome to request the use of the resources of the USIE mechanisms or WebECURIE (where appropriate) or other bilateral communications as part of their exercise. In addition to the aforementioned formal communications channels, the NEA will play a role during the exercise as a "clearing house" and an additional resource for member countries.
Latest developments in nuclear law
The NEA Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) met on 17‑18 June 2015, bringing together over 70 experts from member countries and four international organisations, as well as representatives from five non‑member countries (Argentina, India, Romania, the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam). Participants at the meeting exchanged information on the latest national developments in nuclear law and discussed the current activities conducted under NLC auspices. The meeting also included discussions on the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the related Brussels Supplementary Convention. In addition, a representative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) reported on the ESPOO Convention initiative to issue good practice recommendations to support the application of the Convention to activities related to nuclear energy. Participants also considered potential nuclear safety topics for further discussion, such as licensing frameworks for lifetime extensions and legal frameworks for judicial challenges to licensing decisions, as well as potential joint initiatives with the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) and the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH).
50th anniversary of the Spanish Nuclear Energy Law
The NEA was invited to participate in the Jornada sobre los 50 años de la Ley de Energía Nuclear, a conference organised by the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear, CSN) on 25 June 2015 in Madrid, Spain, in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Spanish Nuclear Energy Law. During the conference, current and former senior representatives of the CSN, academics and other high‑level experts gave an overview of the adoption and evolution of the Spanish Nuclear Energy Law, contextualising it within the international and European legal frameworks. The NEA Office of Legal Counsel gave a presentation on the international nuclear third party liability conventions, which aim to ensure that potential victims of a nuclear accident are provided equitable compensation for damage suffered, and the conventions' evolution over time. The modernised conventions provide victims in a wider geographical scope with access to larger amounts of compensation, for a wider range of damage suffered and with more time to file claims.
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