Press release
Paris, 21 July 1997

New NEA report investigates capabilities and facilities for nuclear safety research in OECD countries

A new report, released today by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), Nuclear Safety Research in OECD Countries: Capabilities and Facilities, investigates the nuclear safety research capabilities and facilities required to satisfy current and future needs previously identified by its Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI), as part of the expertise necessary to sustain future nuclear power development. The new report examines the availability of research facilities in the future, especially those which are large and costly, the possible need for new facilities, the areas of expertise where problems can be expected due to the disbanding of experienced research teams or capabilities, and the potential role of international organisations, particularly the OECD, in encouraging and facilitating international collaboration.

Already in the period 1992-95, the NEA had expressed concern that dwindling budgets and support as well as stagnant nuclear programmes may lead to the untimely shutdown of large research facilities and the breaking up of experienced research and analytical teams, with the consequent loss of competence and reduced capability to deal quickly and efficiently with future safety problems.

In general terms, technical programmes and facilities exist, or are planned, which will meet the majority of the current safety research needs identified in previous studies carried out by the NEA (Nuclear Safety Research in OECD Countries), although in most areas some additional effort appears to be justified. For the longer term, the CSNI concludes that analytical capability (including computer code improvement and validation) needs to be maintained in all areas and that experimental facilities are needed to underpin analytical models, prove new design features, and support accident management decisions or assess the risk of early reactor containment failure. Facilities suitable for large-scale, prototypic testing should be retained in a few areas.

The new report sets out in detail the recommendations developed by the CSNI concerning general strategies that could be utilised by OECD member countries to maintain nuclear safety research capabilities and select facilities.

Nuclear Safety Research in OECD Countries: Capabilities and Facilities
OECD, Paris 1997, 103 pages
ISBN 92-64-15509-0

Nuclear Safety Research in OECD Countries: Areas of Agreement, Areas for Further Action, Increasing Need for Collaboration
OECD, Paris 1996, 90 pages
ISBN 92-64-15336-5

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