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 »
Nuclear in a changing world
The NEA participated in Nuclear in a changing world, a conference organised jointly by FORATOM and the Romanian Atomic Forum – ROMATOM on 26 June 2019 in Bucharest, Romania. The goal of the conference was to discuss key challenges affecting the energy sector in Europe, the role of long‑term nuclear power plant operations, and skills and capacity management in the nuclear field. NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV was a keynote speaker in the opening session of the conference. During his speech, Director‑General Magwood discussed the costs of decarbonising electricity systems, the importance of modernising the electricity markets, and the potential for small modular reactor technologies. The NEA was also represented at the conference by Ms Yeonhee Hah, Head of the NEA Division of Radiological Protection and Human Aspects of Nuclear Safety, who participated in the session "How to ensure we have the necessary skills" as a panellist and addressed the importance of decades‑long knowledge management given the long life cycles of nuclear facilities. She also highlighted the NEA activities in the area of skills management, including the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework and the recent workshop on human capital and leadership challenges co‑organised with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).
Women in Nuclear Global Annual Conference
In June, the NEA also participated in the 27th Women in Nuclear Global Annual Conference, which provided a forum for professional women in the nuclear field on 17-21 June 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Ms Yeonhee Hah presented the "NEA Approach: Improving Gender Balance in Nuclear Energy" at the conference session on Women in the Nuclear Field. During her presentation, she highlighted ongoing NEA activities, such as the International Mentoring Workshop Series in Science and Engineering organised with the objective to encourage female high school students to explore careers in science and engineering. In 2019, two more workshops will be held: the first one in Fukushima, Japan, in August and the second one in Vigo, Spain in September. Another workshop is planned for university students and scheduled to take place in Moscow, Russia, in October.
Discussions on nuclear science
The NEA Nuclear Science Committee (NSC) held its biannual meeting on 12‑14 June 2019. At this meeting, NSC Chair John Herczeg and NSC Vice‑Chair Alain Zaetta stepped down after having led the Committee for over decade. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu of the United States and Gilles Bignan of France were elected as the new Chair and Vice‑Chair, respectively. Following presentations on the status of the Committee's programme of work, participants endorsed the creation of a task force to review and prioritise the programme based on the current needs expressed by member countries. Highlights reported at the meeting included the launch of the Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework, and the progress made by the NSC and NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) in establishing a new multi‑national NEA Framework for In‑pile Fuel and Material Irradiation Experiments (FIDES) in response to the closure of the Halden Reactor. The Committee noted the importance of these two projects for the nuclear community, and endorsed the efforts of the NEA Division of Nuclear Science to facilitate these new endeavours. In support of this cross‑cutting approach, the meeting participants acknowledged the recent advances in NSC engagement with other NEA Standing Technical Committees and proposed that the Bureaus of the NSC and the CSNI explore joint sessions at their meetings.
Global Forum on Innovation for the Future of Nuclear Energy
The first Global Forum on Innovation for the Future of Nuclear Energy took place in Gyeongju, Korea, on 10‑13 June 2019, organised jointly by the NEA, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and the United Kingdom National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). The event brought together a selective group of key stakeholders in the nuclear field who participated in interactive discussions on accelerating nuclear innovation. On the first day of the forum, NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV participated in a panel session to make a baseline status update on innovation in the nuclear sector. On the second day he chaired a roundtable on regulatory insights, during which several high‑ranking regulators discussed the role of nuclear regulatory authorities in fostering innovation. During this session, Dr Fiona Rayment of the NNL joined Director‑General Magwood to launch a new summary of the outcomes of the NEA Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) initiative. The two and a half day forum concluded with the elaboration of a short list of follow‑up actions. The next Global Forum for Nuclear Innovation will take place in the United Kingdom in 2020, hosted by the NNL.
The global response to address climate change is one of the key policy challenges of the 21st century. Many governments around the world have agreed that action should be taken to achieve large cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the coming decades, to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to ensure the necessary financial and technical support for countries to implement the required changes. Several years after COP 21 and the Paris agreement, although nuclear energy remains one of the options in the global toolbox to address climate change, the path towards a low‑carbon energy future is still uncertain. To this end, the NEA and the IAEA are co‑organising the 2019 International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power, scheduled to take place in Vienna from 7 to 11 October 2019. For more information on the conference and its programme, please visit www.iaea.org/atoms4climate.
Nuclear energy's challenges are frequently described as having a significant 'social' dimension. The NEA is organising a workshop to explore how insights from the social sciences and humanities can be used to inform decision making in the nuclear energy field. The event will take place on 12‑13 December 2019 in Paris, France. Selected papers from the workshop will be published in a special issue of the nuclear engineering journal, Nuclear Technology. For registration and abstract submissions, visit oe.cd/nuclear-nexus-2019.