Steering Committee Policy Debate: Health Effects of Low-dose Radiation
Health effects of low-dose radiation was the topic of the policy debate on 24 April 2015 at the 130th session of the NEA Steering Committee. Particularly since the Fukushima accident, there has been significant public and government interest concerning the radiological risks of low-dose radiation. To address this, the NEA invited some of the world’s top experts to the Steering Committee meeting to present the state of the art in radiological epidemiology studies (statistical studies of exposed and non-exposed groups to compare health statuses, e.g. the number of cancer cases, and thus to gauge risk), and radiation biology studies (studies of cellular, tissue and organism effects of exposure to ionizing radiation). In addition, a presentation on the international framework for radiological protection, as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, described the framework in the context of its practical application. Finally, an industry representative provided an overview of the operational view of radiological protection issues. Discussions indicated that, while scientific uncertainty remains, there are small but statistically significant and biologically visible risks at doses of 50 to 100 mSv. The safety of workers and the public remains the first priority of industry and regulators, recognising that public concerns drive protection to be rather conservative in nature. Research continues in many venues to attempt to refine our understanding of the effect of low doses of ionizing radiation.
Stakeholder involvement in public communication by nuclear regulatory organisations
On 1 April 2015, the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA), in collaboration with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), held a second workshop on public communication by nuclear regulatory organisations (NROs). Some 45 participants from 11 countries attended the workshop in Rockville, Maryland (USA), which was held under the auspices of the NEA Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC). Participants included a wide range of North American stakeholders, including the media, communication experts, government officials, NGOs and industry representatives. Opening remarks were provided by the NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, and Stephen G. Burns, Chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
GIF Framework Agreement extended for ten years
On 26 February 2015, the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems was extended for ten years, paving the way for continued collaboration among participating countries in this important area of Gen IV R&D. A signing ceremony was held at the OECD in the presence of Mr Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General and Depositary of the Framework Agreement, 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, see www.gen‑4.org.
Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes
France has just adhered to the Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes, bringing the number of adhering countries to 13. The Joint Declaration, which seeks to ensure the security of supply of the most widely used medical radioisotope, molybdenum‑99 (Mo‑99), remains open to adhesion by any country that wishes to do so. Read the declaration: oe.cd/RW
Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes
South Africa has formally adhered to the Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes, bringing the number of adhering countries to 12. The Joint Declaration, which seeks to ensure the security of supply of the most widely used medical radioisotope, molybdenum‑99 (Mo‑99), remains open to adhesion by any country that wishes to do so. Read the declaration: oe.cd/RW
Just published – 2015 Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy
Prepared jointly by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), this Roadmap outlines the current status of nuclear technology development and the need for additional R&D to address increased safety requirements and improved economics. Read more
Save the date – Release of the IEA/NEA Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy – 29 January 2015
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) are hosting a free webinar on 29 January 2015 at 3:00 pm (CET) to disseminate the findings from the latest edition of the IEA/NEA Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy. Read more
Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes
Eleven countries have formally adhered to the Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes which seeks to ensure the security of supply of the most widely used medical radioisotope, molybdenum-99 (99Mo). Additional countries may adhere going forward and are being encouraged to do so by the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Press release
NEA Director-General opens the Northeast Asia Nuclear Safety Symposium
On 26 November 2014, the NEA Director-General opened the Northeast Asia Nuclear Safety Symposium (2nd TRM+) in Seoul, Korea. During his presentation, he stressed the importance of the human dimension in nuclear safety and finding mechanisms to implement safety culture concepts effectively in different national contexts. He noted that the NEA is in a very good position to help facilitate further nuclear safety discussions in the region, and assured participants of the NEA's support for that interaction. In closing, he recalled that "All problems have solutions, and working together we can overcome any challenge."
NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy elects next Chair
Mrs Marie‑Elise Hoedemakers, Senior Policy Advisor for International Nuclear Affairs at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, has been elected as the next Chair of the NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, replacing Mr Richard Stratford of the US Department of State. Since 2011, she has been serving as a Vice‑Chair in the Steering Committee Bureau. Mrs Hoedemakers, who will become Chair on 1 January 2015, is the first woman to do so in the history of the Committee.
"I am very pleased with the Steering Committee decision and am looking forward to working with Mrs Hoedemakers," said NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV. "Her professional and personal qualities, combined with her extensive knowledge of NEA Steering Committee affairs, will be a great asset as we pursue future developments at the Agency."
Poland joins the NEA Data Bank
The NEA is pleased to announce that Poland has become the 25th country to join the NEA Data Bank, effective as of 24 October 2014. As Poland pursues the development of its nuclear power programme, access to the NEA Data Bank, an internationally recognised centre of reference for nuclear data tools and services, becomes increasingly important. NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV greatly welcomes Poland's membership, and notes that "this is another important step in Poland's efforts to build a robust infrastructure for the safe use of nuclear power in the future."
NEA Steering Committee Policy Debate on the Thorium Fuel Cycle
On 31 October 2014, the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy held a policy debate on the thorium fuel cycle to discuss whether the introduction of a thorium fuel cycle could become a practical option, as well as the technical challenges associated with the various approaches to the use of thorium fuel. Speakers included Mr Kevin Hesketh of the UK National Nuclear Laboratory, Dr Richard Didsbury of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Dr Frank Carré of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and Dr Victor Ignatiev of the Kurchatov Institute, Russian Federation. The NEA is in the final stages of publishing a report which will provide a clear, objective assessment of the thorium fuel cycle and its prospects.
Former NEA Director-General honoured with conferral of the Order of the Rising Sun
Mr. Luis E. Echávarri, former Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), was conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, an imperial decoration of Japan at a ceremony hosted by H.E. Ambassador Kazuo Kodama in Paris on 6 October 2014. The honour was awarded in recognition of the significant contributions Mr. Echávarri has made through his work at the NEA, promoting nuclear safety in Japan and mutual understanding between Japan and the international community.
Radioactive Waste Management and "Constructing Memory" for Future Generations
The nearly 200 participants at the International Conference and Debate on the Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory of Radioactive Waste across Generations have agreed that future generations should be provided with knowledge and understanding of the environmental heritage they inherit from the past. The conference was held on 15‑17 September 2014 in Verdun, France by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), with the support of the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (ANDRA). It provided a forum for both specialists and stakeholders interested in records, knowledge and memory preservation in general, and radioactive waste management in particular, to exchange views and the latest information in the field. Press release
NEA's Stephen G. Burns nominated to US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Mr. Stephen G. Burns, NEA Head of Legal Affairs and former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) General Counsel, has been nominated to become one of the five NRC Commissioners. The hearing before the full US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will take place on Tuesday, 9 September 2014 at 10:00 am EDT (GMT -4) in Washington D.C. Further details and the link to the live webcast are available here.
William D. Magwood, IV: New Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is pleased to announce that as of today, 1 September 2014, Mr. William D. Magwood, IV has taken up his duties as the new NEA Director-General. Mr. Magwood brings to the NEA extensive experience in both the regulatory and developmental aspects of nuclear energy, including at the international level. Since 2010, he had been serving as one of the five Commissioners appointed by the US President and confirmed by the US Senate to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Press release
MOU Strengthens Co-operation between the OECD/NEA and the National Nuclear Safety Administration of China
A Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Regulation of Nuclear and Radiation Safety has been signed by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) of China, strengthening co-operation between both parties. Press release
OECD/NEA Director-General recognised by the Governments of Spain and Japan
Mr. Luis E. Echávarri, Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), has received official recognition from the Governments of Spain and Japan for his contributions to international service and co-operation in the field of nuclear energy. On 22 April 2014, the Government of Spain awarded him introduction into the Order of Isabella the Catholic. On 29 April 2014, the Government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun. Further details on the latter are available in the press releases issued by the Permanent Delegation of Japan to the OECD and the NEA.
These awards have been bestowed on the eve of Mr. Echávarri's retirement from the NEA on 30 April 2014. Mr. William Magwood has been appointed as the next Director-General of the NEA. Pending his arrival on 1 September 2014, Dr. Thierry Dujardin will be Acting NEA Director-General.
Enhancing Global Nuclear Safety
Enhancing global nuclear safety was the focus of an international conference held on 8 April 2014 in Tokyo, Japan, by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in co-operation with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) of Japan. High‑level experts from nuclear regulatory authorities in France, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States reviewed international developments in nuclear safety since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011, as the international community works to strengthen nuclear safety at the global level. Press release
William D. Magwood to succeed Luis E. Echávarri as next Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
On 19 March 2014, the OECD Secretary-General announced the appointment of Mr. William D. Magwood as the next Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). He will be succeeding Luis E. Echávarri who is retiring at the end of April 2014 after nearly 17 years at the head of the NEA. Mr. Magwood – who is currently one of the five Commissioners of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was previously Director of Nuclear Energy at the US Department of Energy and has served as the Chair of the NEA Steering Committee – will take up his duties on 1 September 2014.
OECD/NEA co-operation with China
On 26-27 February 2014, an OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) delegation led by the NEA Director-General, Luis E. Echávarri, met with several Chinese institutions to discuss co-operation in a number of areas, including nuclear safety and development. On 27 February, the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) organised a co-operation workshop to explore practical implementation of the 2013 Joint Declaration on Co-operation with the OECD/NEA. The workshop was attended by 40 participants from the CAEA, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), the National Energy Administration (NEA), the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and other important actors in China's nuclear power programme.
ROSATOM and OECD/NEA discuss co-operation
On 16 January 2014, Ambassador Nikolay Spasskiy, Deputy Director-General for International Co-operation of the Russian Federation's State Atomic Energy Corporation, ROSATOM, met with OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Director-General Mr. Luis Echávarri and staff to discuss Russian participation since it joined the NEA one year ago and plans for further strengthening co-operation in the future.
Last reviewed: 25 January 2015