Nuclear development programme of work

The programme of work of the NEA in this field is aimed at providing member governments with consensus expert views that help them in formulation and presentation of their policies. At their request a wide range of studies on the economics and technology of nuclear power is carried out and seminars are organised for the exchange and consolidation of information. All aspects of the costs of nuclear energy are reviewed regularly, as are the wider economic context of nuclear energy and its resource base, government policies that affect the nuclear industry, the outlook for nuclear energy, and the needs for supporting infrastructure. Close collaboration is maintained with the International Energy Agency (IEA), other parts of the OECD, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and with relevant sections of the European Commission. The Nuclear Development Committee (NDC) is the permanent body that provides guidance on this work, ensuring that it reflects the priorities of Member countries. It has one permanent sub-group, the Joint NEA/IAEA Uranium Group.

Working methods

The members of NDC and the Uranium Group are nominated by NEA member governments. They consist of a mixture of government and government agency officials, together with representatives from national nuclear research institutes and from industry. These committees meet once or twice each year to review progress with regard to the programme of work and developments in member countries and relevant international organisations, and to prepare future activities.

The bulk of the work is carried out by a number of ad hoc expert groups, each convened to perform a specific task. These studies are aimed at the publication of consensus reports based on the experts' personal experience in regard to the issues in question. The studies frequently establish a framework that is used widely by governments, NGOs and research organizations and that provide a basic corps of economic or technical data. Other topics are the subject of international workshops or seminars organised by the Secretariat. These meetings may lead to the publication of proceedings or to the commissioning of further analyses by expert groups.

The Secretariat also carries out analytical work directly for the NDC and ensures that the results of all the work are fed into activities of other parts of the NEA and the OECD, and international bodies such as the International panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Much of the work sponsored by the NDC is presented at international conferences, either by the Secretariat or by members of the expert groups.

Experts and participants in workshops and seminars are nominated by member governments. Experts from the IAEA, the IEA and the European Commission also participate. When there is mutual benefit, experts from non-members of the OECD participate in support of the IAEA representation.

Summary

The NEA's programme on economic and technical studies seeks to anticipate the issues that will be of concern to member governments. With the collaboration of the IEA and the IAEA, and within the wider framework of OECD policy and economic analysis, it offers an efficient means to address a wide-ranging set of issues, and to assist in the understanding of the potential contribution that nuclear energy can make to the energy policy goals of its members.

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Last updated: 5 August 2006