NEA DG participates in the European Nuclear Energy Forum in Prague and visits the Temelín Nuclear Power Station
The NEA participated in the 14th European Nuclear Energy Forum on 29‑30 April. Organised under the auspices of the European Commission (EC) and the Czech Republic, the conference brought together representatives from EU governments, European institutions, the nuclear industry and regulators, electricity consumers, and civil society. The event was opened by the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, and the Romanian Minister of Energy. The Forum focused on two topics: "Ageing and long‑term operation of nuclear power plants in Europe - challenges and opportunities" and "2050 Long‑term strategy".
NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV was a featured speaker in the opening session of the conference, which was moderated by Gerassimos Thomas, EC Deputy Director General for Energy. During his speech, Director‑General Magwood discussed the costs of decarbonising electricity systems, and noted, "If we are to realise the energy transformation to which all here aspire, the markets must be reformed to reflect true costs and to incentivise the choices and investments needed for the future." He also highlighted the importance of nuclear technology education and the potential for small modular reactor technologies.
While in the Czech Republic, Director‑General Magwood visited the Temelín Nuclear Power Station, which is the largest power resource in the country with its 2 000 MW of installed capacity. He reviewed the changes made at the plant to further enhance safety and a new project to apply nuclear‑generated steam to provide municipal heating. When implemented in 2021, this project will enable the city of České Budějoviceto to burn 80 000 tons less coal each year.
The NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy
In April the NEA held the biannual meeting of the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, the highest decision making body at the NEA. The committee is primarily made up of senior officials from national atomic energy authorities and associated ministries. It oversees and shapes the work of the Agency to ensure its responsiveness to member countries' needs. Among the highlights of the April meeting was a discussion of NEA efforts to address challenges related to the global experimental infrastructure. The meeting agenda also included a presentation on the NEA study on the true costs of decarbonisation and concluded with a Strategic Briefing on Progress on High‑Level Waste Disposal in NEA Member Countries.
Building the future of Fukushima
As part of the recently-launched OECD-Japan Policy Dialogues on Developing Decommissioning Industry Clusters in Fukushima, the NEA and the OECD held a joint event in Tokyo, Japan, on 16 April to discuss the future of Fukushima, how the NEA and the OECD provide support to Japan and what the international community can learn from the experience. The OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría opened the event, stressing his commitment to support the Tohoku region and Fukushima in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. He also highlighted the NEA's continuing support to the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, recovery efforts and food safety concerns in the region. Keynote remarks were also delivered by Akimasa Ishikawa, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (also serves as Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Reconstruction), Masao Uchibori, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, and Satoshi Endo, Mayor of Hirono Town, Fukushima Prefecture, to present the progress of reconstruction efforts and remaining challenges.
Effective regulation of advanced reactors
The NEA Working Group on the Safety of Advanced Reactors (WGSAR) held its biannual meeting during the week of 15 April. During this meeting, the working group finalised a technical report on analytical codes and methods for sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) analysis, and made progress with another technical report on fuel qualification for advanced reactors. The meeting also included a discussion on material selection, integrity and through life challenges for advanced reactors, during which delegates gave updates on progress at the national level.
Safety assessments for Generation IV reactors
The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Risk and Safety Working Group (RSWG) met at the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Illinois, United States, on 10‑12 April to advance its ongoing work on a report on the basis on the safety approach for design and assessment of Gen IV systems. The meeting agenda also included a technical tour of the ANL, including the Natural Convection Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility (NSTF) and the Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop facility (METL). The visits, complemented by a special discussion on the US approach towards the use of liquid fuel in molten salt reactors, provided the group with valuable insights on design tracks.
Nuclear power plant operating experience
The NEA Working Group on Operating Experience (WGOE) met on 9-11 April to exchange information and experience on events occurred in nuclear power plants. The meeting was organised in conjunction with the Advisory Committee meeting of the International Reporting System for Operating Experience (AC-IRS). During the meeting, the group organised a roundtable discussion of recent events in member countries with notable safety significance. Participating experts also discussed ongoing WGOE activity on non-conforming, counterfeit, fraudulent and suspect items (NCFSI). The next WGOE workshop will be held in 2021.
The NEA is pleased to co-operate with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and the United Kingdom National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) to organise a Global Forum on Innovation for the Future of Nuclear Energy in Gyeongju, Korea, on 10-13 June 2019. The forum will bring nuclear power plant leaders, regulators and technology providers from around the world together in a collaborative environment to determine how innovative solutions can be more rapidly implemented in operating plants. It will focus on accelerating deployment of innovative solutions to address the most urgent challenges facing the current global fleet of nuclear power plants. Registration information is available at www.globalnuclearinnovation.com.
The next session of the NEA International Radiological Protection School (IRPS) will take place from 19 to 23 August 2019 at Stockholm University in Sweden. This five‑day training provides mid-career radiological protection (RP) experts with an understanding of the "spirit" of the RP system. International experts will present the nuances, history and between‑the‑lines meanings of international guidance and working experience, that will allow tomorrow's radiological protection leaders to appropriately apply the RP system to address current and future radiological circumstances. For more information on the course and to apply, see oe.cd/nea-irps.
The Fourth International Workshop on the Indemnification of Damage in the Event of a Nuclear Accident will be organised on 8‑9 October 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal, in association with the Instituto Superior Técnico and the University of Lisbon Faculty of Law. This workshop will continue exploring the practical application of the international nuclear liability convention and national legislations in the case of an incident at a nuclear installation. It will address determination of the nuclear damage to be compensated and transboundary claims handling. The participants will examine the associated challenges and discuss options to ensure adequate compensation to victims of a nuclear incident. For more information on the workshop and to register, see www.oecd‑nea.org/law/workshops/lisbon2019. Due to limited capacity, registrations will be processed on a first‑come, first‑served basis.
Kick-off meeting for the preparation of the 4th International Workshop on the Indemnification of Damage in the Event of a Nuclear Accident
A kick-off meeting for the preparation of the Fourth International Workshop on the Indemnification of Damage in the Event of a Nuclear Accident was held on 4‑5 April in order for expert groups to prepare background notes and other supporting documents that will be made available to participants prior to the workshop with the intention to foster an interactive discussion. Participating experts in this kick-off meeting included economists, lawyers, radiological protection experts, insurers and representatives of nuclear operators.
Training courses on state‑of‑the‑art computer codes
The NEA Data Bank organised two training sessions in April on the Monte Carlo N‑Particle Transport Code (MCNP®), which is widely used by the radiation transport community for radiation protection and shielding, fission and fusion reactor design, detector design and analysis, and medical physics. The first session was an introductory course, while the second one was dedicated to users with intermediate knowledge of the code. The courses attracted 33 participants from 11 countries, who benefited first‑hand from the knowledge and dedication of the code developers. The NEA Data Bank Computer Program Services organises several training sessions every year, contributing to the dissemination of state‑of‑the‑art codes and engaging the nuclear community. These week-long courses provide a unique opportunity to bring together code users from around the globe and facilitate exchanges on the use of computer codes. Further information on the NEA Data Bank training courses is available at oe.cd/nea‑db‑course.
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