The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is a specialised agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organisation of industrialised countries, based in Paris, France. More »
Country‑specific safety culture forum in Finland
One of the many important lessons learnt about nuclear safety over the years has been that safety culture is as important as any technical issue that may arise in the course of nuclear operations. 60 experts from the Finnish nuclear community and international observers from seven countries came together in Helsinki, Finland, on 6‑7 March to discuss country‑specific national attributes that may impact the safety culture. The event was organised by the NEA, in close co‑operation with the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). During his remarks at the opening session, NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, highlighted the importance of understanding the national context and its relation to safety culture in order to ensure continued enhancement of nuclear safety. A summary report of the forum and its outcomes is currently in preparation. Read more
NEA Director‑General's first official visit to Australia
NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, undertook his first official visit to Australia this week for meetings with the Ministry of Energy, the Australian Safeguards & Non-proliferation Office (ASNO), the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO), and the Energy Policy Institute of Australia (EPIA).
Australia has no nuclear power plants, but is the world's third largest uranium producer, holding about 30% of the world's total identified resources. Meetings with the Australian authorities highlighted uranium resource issues, but also focused on NEA analyses related to the decarbonisation of electricity systems, radioactive waste management and the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework. Also, while Australia has no current plans to build nuclear plants, in 2016 the country joined the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) for which the NEA acts as Technical Secretariat. As such, discussions with the Australian authorities covered R&D on advanced nuclear systems.
While in Australia, Director‑General Magwood visited the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor, a major producer of radioisotopes for medical applications. Australia has been a key participant in the NEA High‑level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes and helps contribute to international supply through the OPAL reactor. Technical visits were also made to the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering and the Synroc pilot plant.
On 1 March, Director‑General Magwood participated in the Nuclear Futures Forum organised by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and delivered a lecture on NEA work and activities to UNSW students and faculty.
NEA Director‑General visits Russia
NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV and senior staff visited Russia on 15 February to meet with ROSATOM Deputy Director-General Nikolay Spasskiy and staff. Discussions with ROSATOM covered a wide range of issues, including ROSATOM's approach to human resource development, ROSATOM programmes for leadership development and capacity building for co‑operation with international organisations. Discussions also included future co‑operation on experimental support for fuels and material development and safety culture, as well as on a number of NEA initiatives such as the NEA International Mentoring Workshop in Science and Engineering and the country‑specific safety culture forum series. During this meeting, ROSATOM also confirmed their participation in the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework Agreement, which has been established to foster a new generation of nuclear experts and leaders.
While in Russia, Director‑General Magwood met with the rector of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute) Professor Mikhail Striikhanov and gave a lecture on the current state and future prospects for nuclear energy to students and faculty. A Memorandum of Agreement between the NEA and the MEPhI was signed during this visit. The Director‑General's visit to Russia was an excellent opportunity to exchange views on nuclear safety, education and research, as well as on how to continue strengthening the NEA's engagement with Russian entities.
G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth
On 12-13 February, the NEA participated in the preparatory meetings for the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth, which will be held on 15-16 June 2019. During the meetings, G20 countries discussed viable pathways, structural strategies and changes in transforming the energy sector towards zero-carbon energy systems. Dr Gloria Kwong, Deputy Head of the NEA Division of Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning, participated in the preparatory meeting and encouraged the G20 countries to engage in dialogue on developing final radioactive waste disposal solutions and contributed supporting information on nuclear energy. Another key contribution to the meeting was the recent NEA study that scrutinises the costs of decarbonising the electricity sector and sets out a policy framework for achieving carbon emissions targets in the most cost-effective manner. Download the report here: oe.cd/nea-system-costs-2019
The NEA hosted a webinar on 17 January to preview the findings from the report The Costs of Decarbonisation: System Costs with High Shares of Nuclear and Renewables. The webinar featured introductory remarks by the OECD Secretary‑General Ángel Gurría and NEA Director‑General Magwood, who led a discussion on the importance of system costs in assessing the overall costs of the energy transitions under way. If you missed the live webcast, the video recording is available at oe.cd/nea‑system‑costs‑webinar‑2019.
This year's Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp will take place from 19 to 30 August 2019 in Paris, France, hosted by the NEA, in collaboration with the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the University of Wisconsin‑Madison and the Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA). Launched in Silicon Valley three years ago, the Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp seeks to train students and early‑career professionals in skills essential to accelerating innovation in nuclear energy. The two‑week program will feature real‑world team projects, expert‑led sessions, and hands‑on activities to equip the participants with an in‑depth understanding of specific issues relating to nuclear innovation. The participants will also learn about venture fundamentals, markets, financing and the product development process. Applications may be submitted up until 15 May 2019. For more information, and to apply, visit nuclearinnovationbootcamp.org.