Ensuring the long-term sustainable supply of medical radioisotopes
The NEA High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) met on 19-21 July 2016. During the meeting, participants reviewed market demand and projections for molybdenum-99 (99Mo) irradiation and processing capacity for the period 2016-2021. An Association of Isotope Producers and Equipment Suppliers (AIPES) representative also gave a briefing on recent market performance and near-term planning of capacity co‑ordinated by an AIPES Working Group. Participants noted that supply has been reliable, without disruption to health systems, and that capacity is expected to continue to meet demand, although with some periods of risk if there are any unexpected facility outages. Overall, baseline capacity from existing producers has increased and projections remain positive despite the shutdown of the OSIRIS reactor in France and the planned cessation of routine production at the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in Canada. Information was also provided on new capacity based on technologies that do not require highly enriched uranium, which also contribute to international nuclear non-proliferation efforts. Participating members recognised that more work is needed to fully implement full-cost recovery pricing and encourage new production infrastructure in order to ensure the long-term sustainable supply of this important medical radioisotope.
Japan's siting process for the geological disposal of high‑level radioactive waste
Upon request by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan, the NEA carried out an independent peer review of Japan's siting process and criteria for the geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste in May 2016. Organised according to NEA guidelines for international peer reviews for radioactive waste, the review aimed to assess the suitability and applicability of the Japanese site screening process to identify appropriate or inappropriate areas for the geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste, in comparison with international best practices. The review concluded that the nationwide scientific screening process is generally in accordance with international practices. The new NEA report entitled Japan's Siting Process for the Geological Disposal of High‑level Radioactive Waste presents the key findings of the review, as well as the potential areas of improvement recommended by the international review team. Download the report at oe.cd/1ry.
Australia joins the Generation IV International Forum (GIF)
Following unanimous acceptance by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) members, Australia became the 14th member of the Forum on 22 June 2016. The GIF Charter was signed by Dr Adrian (Adi) Paterson, CEO of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). With a staff of about 1 200 people, 250 of whom have doctorate degrees, ANSTO has a balanced mix of fundamental and applied research capabilities, with research facilities in the field of material science centred around the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor, a multi‑purpose research reactor that also produces medical radioisotopes. Neutron beam instruments which use OPAL's neutrons are used for characterising materials. In addition, ANSTO has several accelerators for ion beam analyses. In order to become fully engaged in the GIF's research activities, particularly in the area of materials for very high temperature and molten salt reactors for which ANSTO has expressed interest, Australia will need to sign the GIF Framework Agreement and its Extension. For more information on GIF, see www.gen-4.org.
NEA takes part in the World Nuclear Exhibition
On 28-30 June 2016, the NEA participated in the second World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE) in Le Bourget, France, which brought together key figures in the global nuclear energy industry. NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV was a featured speaker in the panel discussions on "Innovations for 21st Century Nuclear Energy" and "Safety, Quality and Project Delivery Certainty – Key Ingredients for Any Successful Major Project". Mr Magwood also chaired the WNE Awards Ceremony, which bestowed the award for progress in nuclear safety upon AREVA for modular multi‑purpose robots in support of nuclear investigation operations. Dr Jaejoo Ha, Head of the NEA Division of Nuclear Development, participated in the panel discussion on "Pragmatic Management of the Back-end of the Fuel Cycle – A Pathway to Sustainability". NEA representatives were present throughout the Exhibition at its publications and information stand.
China signs extension of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Framework Agreement
On 23 June 2016, the People's Republic of China signed the ten-year extension of the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems. A signing ceremony was held at the OECD in the presence of His Excellency ZHAI Jun, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to France, and Mr William D. Magwood, IV, NEA Director-General. The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) is a co-operative international endeavour which was set up in 2005 to carry out the research and development needed to establish the feasibility and performance capabilities of the next generation of nuclear energy systems. For more information on GIF, see www.gen-4.org.
Safety of nuclear installations
The NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) held its biannual meeting on 8‑9 June 2016. As part of its normal programme of work, the Committee approved 13 new tasks and 10 reports, including the final report of the NEA Senior Expert Group on Safety Research Opportunities Post‑Fukushima (SAREF), which was established to identify research activities that would address safety research knowledge gaps and support safe and timely decommissioning in Japan. In its report, the group recommends activities that can take advantage of the information and insight gained from the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant both in the near term and the long term. Among the two near-term activities suggested by SAREF are a preparatory study for actual fuel debris analysis and a project to collect and analyse information from the reactor buildings and containment vessels of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Participating members agreed that these two near-term activities should be further developed into proposals for joint projects to be considered by the Committee at its next meeting in December 2016.
Nuclear regulatory activities
The NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) held its biannual meeting on 6‑7 June 2016. Among the decisions taken, it approved the release of the Report of the Survey on the Design Review of New Reactor Applications: Volume 4 – RCS and Associated Systems. It agreed to proceed with next steps for formulating a mandate with priorities and milestones for an ad hoc group on safety culture. It also agreed to hold a topical discussion on the impact of the economic situation on relations between licensees and regulatory bodies at the next CNRA meeting in December 2016. Additionally, participation was encouraged in the forthcoming NEA Workshop on Stakeholder Involvement in Decision Making to be held on 17‑19 January 2017 in Paris, France. During the meeting, the Committee recognised the valuable contributions of its outgoing chair, Dr Jean Christophe Niel, up until recently Director‑General at the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) and now Director‑General at the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), and elected its new Chair, Mr Victor McCree of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Continued engagement and safe implementation of geological repositories
The fifth International Conference on Geological Repositories (ICGR) will take place on 6‑9 December 2016 in Paris, France. The conference, on "Continued Engagement and Safe Implementation of Geological Repositories", aims to take stock of progress made since 2012 in developing and implementing geological repositories for long-lived radioactive waste, and to facilitate mutual learning through exchanges of international perspectives and experiences. It will convene senior-level decision-makers from countries with active programmes for deep geological repositories and provide a forum to explore how the various actors manage the implementation of repository programmes in their countries. For more information and to register, visit www.icgr2016.org.
NEA official visit to Russia
On 18 May 2016, the NEA visited ROSATOM Central Institute for Continuing Education and Training (CICE&T) to discuss ongoing and future co-operation under NEA auspices in the areas of nuclear skills capability building, knowledge transfer and technical innovation to support future generations of nuclear scientists and engineers for continued safe use of nuclear energy. ROSATOM-CICE&T has been co-operating with the NEA Data Bank since 2014, mainly on computer codes and training courses that support competence building for nuclear safety assessment. During the visit, NEA representatives were also introduced to the main lines of ongoing ROSATOM-CICE&T activities in the area of nuclear safety culture, which is among the Institute’s highest priorities. The visit was very informative and constructive, and took place in a spirit of openness and mutual benefit from co-operation.
Addressing challenges and opportunities regarding the financing of nuclear power plant projects
Over 150 leading stakeholders from more than 30 countries convened at the international conference on "Nuclear energy's role in the 21st century: addressing the challenge of financing" to discuss the primary challenges faced by the markets and to develop implementable approaches and solutions. The conference was held on 11‑12 May 2016 in Paris, France by the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), in co‑operation with the NEA, and is the latest IFNEC instalment of a multi‑year, stakeholder‑wide focus on the financial challenges faced by nuclear energy‑related projects. Read more
Nuclear safety research at the Halden reactor
On 9 May 2016, the NEA Halden Reactor Project, the Agency's longest-running and largest joint project, convened the Enlarged Halden Programme Group (EHPG) meeting in Norway. The meeting gathered nearly 250 delegates from 22 countries and featured a keynote speech by the NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, entitled "Looking Forward: Nuclear Science Addressing the Challenges of the Future." The plenary session also addressed such other topics as innovation in the nuclear field, the progress of nuclear new build in Finland, and the challenges associated with nuclear R&D and its funding. The subsequent technical sessions on fuels and materials (F&M) and man-technology-organisation (MTO) covered all the main areas of the project, including reports on the joint and participant-sponsored programme results. The meeting also included system demonstration sessions showing applications of virtual reality.
Addressing challenges and opportunities regarding the financing of nuclear power plant projects
Over 150 leading stakeholders from more than 30 countries convened at the international conference on "Nuclear energy's role in the 21st century: addressing the challenge of financing" to discuss the primary challenges faced by the markets and to develop implementable approaches and solutions. The conference was held on 11‑12 May 2016 in Paris, France by the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), in co‑operation with the NEA, and is the latest IFNEC installment of a multi‑year, stakeholder‑wide focus on the financial challenges faced by nuclear energy‑related projects. Read more
Spotlight on the financing of decommissioning
On 22 April 2016, the NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy held a policy debate on the financing of decommissioning, an increasingly important issue in NEA member countries as commercial nuclear power continues into its sixth decade and a growing number of nuclear reactors are at or reaching the decommissioning phase. Speakers included Mr Simon Carroll of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), Mr Raymond Cron of the Swiss Administrative Commission of the Decommissioning Fund and the Disposal Fund for Nuclear Installations, Mr Louis du Pasquier of the French Ministry of Environment, Energy and Sea, Mr John Mauti of Ontario Power Generation, and Mr Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear (a US-based interest group). Participants in the debate recognised that there are differences in decommissioning funding and benchmarking processes across countries, and that there is no single best system that optimally fits all national contexts and legal frameworks. They reaffirmed the validity of the "polluter pays" principle to cover anticipated and unanticipated costs of the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in order to avoid placing burdens on future generations. The need to expand and improve cost benchmarking data was also highlighted.
International nuclear regulatory inspection practices
On 17-21 April 2016, the NEA Working Group on Inspection Practices (WGIP) held the 13th International Nuclear Regulatory Inspection Activities Workshop. Hosted by the Belgian nuclear regulatory body Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) and Bel V in Bruges, Belgium, the workshop was attended by 58 participants from 18 countries. It provided a forum for inspectors from around the world to discuss inspection practices and to exchange insights on current issues. Topics addressed included experience from inspection activities during the transition from an operating reactor to a defueled status with a commitment to permanently cease power operations, the inspection of modifications and the inspector’s role in the enforcement process. The workshop proceedings will include commendable inspection practices to help nuclear regulatory organisations improve their inspection programmes.
New senior appointment: Daniel Iracane, New NEA Deputy Director‑General and Chief Nuclear Officer
The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Daniel Iracane as the new Deputy Director‑General and Chief Nuclear Officer of the NEA.
Dr Iracane will support the NEA Director‑General to further enhance the technical excellence of the Agency's work and strive for greater horizontal collaboration both within the NEA and with relevant elements of the OECD. He will represent the NEA and its work in international fora to ensure close co-operation with member countries and act in the Director General’s stead as needed. Read more
Public communications of nuclear regulatory organisations: Asian perspective
On 5 April 2016, the NEA Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC) held its third international workshop in Tokyo, Japan, in collaboration with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) of Japan, the Korean Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC), the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) and the Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). Participants included a wide range of stakeholders, including the media, communication experts, government officials and NGOs from Asian countries, notably China, India, Japan and Korea. Opening remarks were delivered by the NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, and Commissioner Nobuhiko Ban of the NRA. The main objective of the workshop was to stimulate co-operation and to improve communication of nuclear regulatory organisations by better understanding stakeholders' perceptions, needs and expectations in the Asian region. The two previous workshops were held in France in 2014 with European stakeholders and in the United States in 2015 with North American stakeholders. Important findings from this workshop include the need for nuclear regulatory organisations to organise periodic and regular exchanges with the media and stakeholders not only during times of emergency, but also during routine periods in order to build strong relationships between the two parties. The group plans to issue a comprehensive report compiling the results from the three workshops.
Regulatory oversight of the commissioning of new reactors
On 14-15 March 2016, the NEA Working Group on the Regulation of New Reactors (WGRNR) and the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP), in collaboration with the Korean Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), held their first joint workshop. During the two day-workshop, in Gyeongju, Korea, 68 regulators and experts from 15 countries tackled 11 major issues which were identified as being challenging or safety-significant during the commissioning phase for new reactors. After a thorough review of the commissioning activities of the MDEP design-specific working groups, the participants discussed lessons learnt, commendable practices and open challenges concerning the commissioning of new nuclear power plants. They also agreed on messages to be conveyed to industry stakeholders. A report will be prepared based on the workshop discussions and will propose commendable practices to help nuclear regulatory organisations develop their commissioning oversight programme as well as plan and perform their commissioning oversight activities.
Nuclear multi-physics computation
On 2-3 March 2016, the NEA Expert Group on Multi-Physics Experimental Data, Benchmarks and Validation (EGMPEBV) held its fourth meeting. Participants reviewed the progress of the group's two task forces and finalised a report on the "Definition and Scope of Multi-Physics Applications". There was also a report from a sub-group of experimenters who had collaborated on a review of the "State-of-the-art and Novel Experimental Techniques Applied to the Pellet-Clad Interaction (PCI) in Reactivity Insertion Accidents (RIA) Challenge", which was initially based on the capabilities available at the CABRI reactor facility at CEA Cadarache. Discussions were also held on the formation of the group's third task force, whose objective is to propose and execute experiment-based benchmarks for realistic configurations, where multi-physics phenomena can be observed and measured. Its initial focus will be on VVER‑type reactor plant start-up measurements, data from which is now being synthesised into benchmark format by Russian participants.
Nuclear Safety Five Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has just published a new report entitled Five Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Nuclear Safety Improvements and Lessons Learnt.
The report focuses on the actions undertaken by the NEA and its member countries at the national and international levels to improve nuclear safety and to implement the lessons learnt from the March 2011 accident. It also offers a series of conclusions and identifies some of the challenges that remain. Press release | 日本語
New NEA report on Five Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
On 29 February 2016, the NEA held a live webcast and press conference for its latest report on Five Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Nuclear Safety Improvements and Lessons Learnt. Opening remarks were delivered by his Excellency Ambassador Kazuo Kodama, Permanent Representative of the Delegation of Japan to the OECD, and Mr William D. Magwood, IV, NEA Director‑General. A detailed presentation was then given on the report's main findings and key messages, followed by a question and answer session.
Mr Javier Reig, former Head of the NEA Division of Nuclear Safety Technology and Regulation, was awarded with the Alexandrov medal at a ceremony hosted by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in France on 11 February 2016. The medal was presented by Dr Alexey Ferapontov, Deputy Chairman of Rostechnadzor, in the presence of His Excellency Ambassador Alexander Orlov. The honour was awarded in recognition of the significant contributions Mr Reig has made through his work at the NEA to the establishment and development of dynamic relations between the Russian Federation and the NEA.
Nuclear energy's role in the 21st century: addressing the challenge of financing
The International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) and the NEA will organise a conference on the financing of nuclear power plant projects on 11‑12 May 2016 in Paris, France. Investment in clean energies, including nuclear power, creates opportunities to reduce fossil fuel dependence, promote energy security and foster innovation. However, new nuclear build projects face a number of barriers, including high upfront costs, high perceived risk and long investment timelines. The situation is exacerbated by weak carbon pricing, lack of predictable and stable policy and regulatory environment, electricity market deficiencies and high financing costs. The conference, by invitation only, will convene leading stakeholders from energy planning authorities, regulators and export credit agencies, as well as vendors, utilities, bankers, rating agencies and insurers, to identify key barriers and develop implementable approaches to address the financing of nuclear projects. For additional information or to request an invitation, please see the IFNEC website.
International launch of Five Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
On 29 February 2016, the NEA held a live webcast and press conference to launch and disseminate the findings from its latest report on Five Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Nuclear Safety Improvements and Lessons Learnt. Read more
Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) –
A roadmap to a carbonfree energy future
The NEA Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) initiative aims at i) mapping the ongoing nuclear fission R&D programmes and infrastructures, ii) defining R&D priorities to foster innovation and to enhance the long‑term contribution of nuclear fission in a low‑carbon future and iii) evaluating potential opportunities for co‑operation to implement some of these priorities. On 14‑15 January 2016, the NI2050 Advisory Panel Group met to discuss the objective, scope, methodology and process of the NI2050 roadmapping, and to finalise its Terms of Reference. The scope of the NI2050 roadmapping, displayed on the left, will be reflected in the organisation of the forthcoming expert meetings. The Terms of Reference were also endorsed by the NEA Nuclear Development Committee (NDC) during its meeting on 27‑28 January 2016.
Stakeholder Dialogue Webinar: Experience and Lessons for Young and Old Experts and Researchers
The NEA, with the support of the International Radiological Protection Association (IRPA), is hosting a series of webinars in February-March 2016 on stakeholder involvement and the use of social networks in developing interactions with stakeholders. The objective of this webinar series is to bring together young and experienced professionals in radiological protection to exchange information on addressing stakeholder concerns. Find out more about the webinar at oe.cd/1fK.
Fukushima waste management and decommissioning R&D
On 20-22 January 2016, the NEA Expert Group on Fukushima Waste Management and Decommissioning R&D (EGFWMD) held its final meeting with experts from Japan and five other countries with experience in waste management following an accident or contamination situation, including in decommissioning nuclear facilities and related remedial actions. The expert group has been working on a technical advisory report comparing the situation in Fukushima with accidents from the past, such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, and contamination situations as in Sellafield. The report is also to include recommendations on how to better prepare for contamination situations. The main goal of the January meeting was to discuss and finalise this report, which is planned to be issued in 2016.
Last reviewed: 18 August 2016