Argentina and Romania to become members of the Nuclear Energy Agency
On 17 May 2017, upon recommendation of the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) agreed to invite the Argentine Republic and Romania to become full members of the NEA and its Data Bank. These accessions will be formalised with official exchange of letters between each country and OECD Secretary‑General Angel Gurría in June 2017. Both Argentina and Romania countries have well‑established relations with the NEA. Their accession to the NEA will be mutually beneficial for both countries and the NEA membership in several fields, particularly know‑how and research activities related to pressurised heavy water reactor technology. Read more
International workshop launches the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework
On 11-12 May 2017, the NEA organised the launch of the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework with a workshop that brought together 50 representatives from 19 member countries. No matter what their energy policy is, nuclear skills and education is an increasingly important challenge for NEA member countries, all of whom need to have a new generation of highly-qualified scientists and engineers to ensure the continued safe and efficient use of nuclear technologies for a wide range of industrial, scientific and medical purposes. The NEA has developed the NEST Framework in partnership with its member countries in order to help address gaps in nuclear skills capacity building and knowledge transfer through multinational collaboration. Participants at the workshop discussed national education and training needs, priorities and practices. The workshop concluded with a common understanding on and a shared interest in the NEST Framework. Formal decisions by member countries on the practicalities associated with the framework will follow in the coming months.
NEA and China's National Energy Administration sign MOU to strengthen co-operation
On 28 April 2017, the NEA and the National Energy Administration of China (C/NEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, enhancing co‑operation between both parties. An official ceremony was held in Beijing, China, at which C/NEA Deputy Administrator Li Fanrong signed the MoU on behalf of the C/NEA and NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, signed on behalf of the NEA. The agreement foresees co‑operation in a number of fields, including nuclear energy development, nuclear safety research and radiological protection. The memorandum of understanding between the NEA and the C/NEA represents further progress in the growing collaboration between China and the Agency, and complements the memorandum of understanding signed by the NEA and the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) of China in 2014 and the Joint Declaration on Co‑operation signed by the NEA and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) in 2013.
NEA expert receives award for international co-operation from Korea
Dr Henri Paillère, NEA's Senior Nuclear Analyst and Acting Head of the Division of Nuclear Development, has been honoured with the Award for Person of Merit for International Co-operation in Nuclear Industry by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. The honour was awarded in recognition of Dr Paillère's dedication and service for the promotion of co-operation between Korea and the NEA, including through his work in support of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC). "We are very pleased to see Dr Paillère's accomplishments being acknowledged," NEA Director-General Mr Magwood said. "We are very fortunate to have outstanding people like Henri at the Agency."
China Atomic Energy Authority visits the NEA to discuss co-operation
On 14 April 2017, Mr WANG Yiren, China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) Vice Chairman, and representatives from the CAEA met with NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, and senior staff to provide the NEA with an overview of the Chinese nuclear power programme. They also discussed co‑operation in a number of areas, including stakeholder involvement in nuclear decision making, which is acknowledged by the NEA community as an important issue and is a growing concern in China. Discussions underlined that both China and the NEA Membership share the objective of the safe, environmentally sound and efficient use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Accordingly, the NEA and CAEA intend to extend the technical exchanges within the framework of the existing Joint Declaration on Co‑operation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, which was signed in 2013. This very constructive visit exemplified the valuable exchanges of information and ideas from which both China and the NEA can benefit.
Regulatory oversight of organisational capability
On 20-22 March 2017, the NEA held a workshop on Regulatory Oversight of New Licensee Organisational Capability in Chester, United Kingdom, jointly organised by the NEA Working Group on the Regulation of New Reactors (WGRNR) and the NEA Working Group on Human and Organisational Factors (WGHOF), in collaboration with the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The workshop attracted more than 40 participants from 15 countries, representing a wide range of experts in licensing of new build reactors and in human and organisational factors. It addressed cross-cutting issues that arise when a prospective nuclear licensee develops its organisational capability and a regulatory body prepares itself for and delivers the regulatory oversight of a prospective licensee's organisational capability. The programme featured three breakout sessions on challenges in developing organisational capability, regulatory challenges with new licensees and oversight of contractors and suppliers by new licensees. The workshop provided an opportunity for the participating experts to share their regulatory approaches and experiences, to exchange views on resolving the challenges faced by prospective licensees and nuclear regulatory bodies, and to identify commendable practices in regulatory oversight of new licensee organisational capability.
Building a scientific community around material test reactors
On 22 March 2017, the NEA welcomed experts from the Foundation for Future International Jules Horowitz Experimental Programs (FIJHOP) to discuss preparations for the initial experiments that will take place at the Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR), and how the NEA can build a framework to facilitate co-operation between material test reactors (MTRs) and the scientific community. The seminar highlighted the unique experimental capacity of the JHR, allowing scientists to address industry relevant questions involving the behaviour of irradiated fuels and materials under wide-ranging conditions. Connecting this experimental capacity to relevant NEA activities, including the NEA Working Party on Multi-scale Modelling of Fuels and Structural Materials for Nuclear Systems (WPMM), the NEA Expert Group on Accident-tolerant Fuels for LWRs (EGATFL), the NEA Working Group on Fuel Safety (WGFS) and the Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) Initiative, was determined to be a key component to fulfil FIJHOP's objectives. In follow-up to the seminar, the NEA will organise an international workshop devoted to establishing a systematic qualification process for improving turnaround time between the development of innovative fuels and materials tested at MTRs and their licensing and deployment for commercial applications.
Optimising safety and efficiency in nuclear decommissioning
On 7-9 February 2017, the NEA in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held a Workshop on Current and Emerging Methods for Optimising Safety and Efficiency in Nuclear Decommissioning, an issue of growing importance for many countries worldwide. Hosted in Norway by the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) on behalf of the NEA Halden Reactor Project, the workshop was attended by more than 100 participants from 25 countries, representing a wide range of stakeholders, including operators, regulators, scientists, consultants and contractors. It provided an opportunity for the participating experts to exchange information and views on lessons learnt from ongoing and completed decommissioning projects; ongoing and future R&D and collaboration needs; and methods for improving decommissioning strategies. The workshop programme also featured demonstrations of advanced computer-aided technologies in support of decommissioning planning. Participants concluded that the sharing of knowledge and experiences and technology demonstrations at the workshop would be useful for many nuclear facilities worldwide in addressing the existing decommissioning challenges. Workshop presentations are available online at oe.cd/1On
Stakeholder Support and Involvement Essential to Future of Nuclear Energy Decision Making
Over 130 experts from 26 countries have come together to discuss international best practices and concluded that stakeholder support and involvement are essential to achieving accepted and sustainable decisions for nearly all aspects of nuclear energy. On 17-19 January 2017, the experts convened in Paris at the NEA Workshop on Stakeholder Involvement in Nuclear Decision Making to compare their vast array of experiences and to identify approaches that help contribute, or not, to stakeholder confidence; to discuss the laws, policies and programmes underway in different countries; and to develop a collective wisdom from which all may learn and benefit. In addition to sharing experiences and best practices, during the workshop participants debated such questions as who among the members of the public and other stakeholders should be informed and how science should be used to address their concerns regarding the choices to be made; in what ways can the full array of viewpoints be put into a balanced perspective; and what roles can and should social media play in engaging with stakeholders. Read more