Working Group on Fuel Cycle Safety (WGFCS)

    Introduction

    The Working Group on Fuel Cycle Safety brings together representatives of regulatory bodies, their technical support organisations, and operators of nuclear fuel cycle facilities, which comprise a number of interrelated activities, including: uranium mining and milling; uranium refining and conversion to uranium hexafluoride; uranium enrichment; fuel fabrication and storage; spent fuel storage; spent fuel reprocessing; decommissioning of nuclear facilities; radioactive waste management and disposal options (including for spent fuel) and the research and demonstration facilities that support these activities.

    Reactor operation is conventionally not included in the so-called nuclear fuel cycle. Similarly, the long-term management of radioactive waste is a very broad field, widely covered in several other NEA committees and is therefore not addressed. However, the safety aspects associated with processing and storing waste in the short-term on the site of fuel cycle facilities are treated by the group.

    Mandate

    The objective of the Working Group on Fuel Cycle Safety (WGFCS) is to advance the understanding for both regulators and operators of relevant aspects of nuclear fuel cycle safety in member countries. In order to accomplish this objective the working group shall:

    • meet periodically to exchange information on relevant matters including licensing systems, safety philosophy and safety standards to improve mutual understanding and to review the information from the joint IAEA/NEA Fuel Incident and Notification and Analyses System (FINAS) and other databases;
    • indicate where further research is needed, review and prioritise safety issues, prepare state-of-the-art reports, hold workshops as appropriate and collaborate with other groups as necessary.

    To achieve this mandate the WGFCS shall:

    1. Report to the Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) and assist that committee with its work. The WGFCS programme of work will be approved by CSNI.
    2. Constitute a forum for exchange of information and experience of activities related to nuclear fuel cycle safety in member countries.
    3. Encourage and support WGFCS member countries to contribute frequently and regularly to the FINAS by their reports. In case of an event of common interest organize a specific forum to share lessons learnt and promote their implementation.
    4. Indicate where further research and analysis is needed and denote priority actions to be undertaken. The WGFCS will prepare technical reviews of work in all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle where such reports are needed for further development. In doing so, care will be taken to avoid duplication of effort or scope with other CSNI working groups or with other international bodies.
    5. Collaborate with or assist the other working groups, NEA committees or other international organisations, with prior approval of the CSNI.

    Programme of work

    Work in progress or recently finished

    Operational and Regulatory Aspects of Criticality Safety
    Under this activity, the international workshop on Operational and Regulatory Aspects of Criticality Safety will be planned for May 2015. The objective of this workshop is to discuss and review current national activities, plans and strategies for maintaining and improving operational and regulatory approaches to criticality safety. Safety authorities and their technical support organisations (TSO), fuel cycle facilities (FCF) operating organisations and international organisations are invited to share information on their approaches, practices and current developments.

    OECD/NEA International Workshop on Operational and Regulatory Aspects of Criticality Safety
    Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA; 19-21 May 2015

    Safety of Long Term Interim storage Facilities
    The objectives of the task group were to discuss and review current national activities, plans and regulatory approaches for the safety of long term interim storage facilities dedicated to spent nuclear fuel (SF) and high level waste (HLW). A workshop was organised and hosted by the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) mbH on 21-23 May 2013 in Munich, Germany with about 90 participants from 16 NEA member countries and two international organisations. Twenty-nine technical papers were presented discussing national approaches, safety requirements, regulatory framework and implementation issues, technical issues and operational experience, as well as needs for R&D in the area of long-term interim storage facilities.

    For more information, visit the workshop webpage (password protected | reminder).

    Workshop proceedings (public): Proceedings of the Workshop on Safety of Long Term Interim Storage, 21-23 May 2013, Munich, Germany

    Safety Assessment of Fuel Cycle Facilities
    The task group’s main objectives were to review the various approaches of national regulators and their technical support organizations (TSO) in the safety assessment of fuel cycle facilities (FCFs) and the experience of their industry in providing safety justification for their facilities. A workshop took place in Toronto, Canada on 27–29 September 2011, hosted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). More than 60 specialists representing 11 countries and international organisations attended the workshop. A total of 31 papers were presented and discussed in an open forum. In addition, an opportunity was taken to consider the impacts of the events at Fukushima on fuel cycle facilities (FCFs) in general.

    For more information, visit the workshop webpage (password protected | reminder).

    Workshop proceedings (public): OECD/NEA Workshop Safety Assessment of Fuel Cycle Facilities – Regulatory Approaches and Industry Perspectives, Toronto, Canada, 27–29 September 2011