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...
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.