CANDU Owners Group (COG) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to co-operate in research and activities related to pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) technology. The purpose of the MOU is to advance the scientific and technical knowledge base for PHWRs and foster co-operation amongst research organisations that support PHWRs.
While the most common technology deployed in NEA member countries is light-water reactors, there is an increasing interest in PHWRs within the membership. PHWRs, such as Canadian designed CANDU reactors, are currently in operation in four NEA member countries: Argentina, Canada, Korea and Romania. The NEA also has active engagement and discussions about nuclear reactor safety with other countries using PHWR technology, particularly China and India.
"The NEA has done much to bring countries together to conduct research in areas particularly related to nuclear safety. We have not, however, done very much in the area of PHWRs as the vast majority of our members operate LWRs," said NEA Director General William D. Magwood, IV during an online ceremony held to mark the MOU signing. "This MOU gives us an immediate boost as we try to become more cognisant, more active in this area, because we can join hands with COG instead of recreating the wheel. This is a tremendous benefit to our member countries."
All participants in the signing ceremony, which included representatives of both government and industry, stressed the advantages of working together to strengthen the technology base for PHWRs. The MOU outlines the scope of a five year agreement and provides a framework for collaboration between the two organisations. Under the new framework, COG and NEA will develop joint research activities and workshops, and exchange views on a range of technical subjects.
Fred Dermarkar, outgoing COG President and CEO, underlined the value of collaboration to achieve common objectives. “I see a big opportunity to work together on workshops where we're exchanging information and initiating joint projects to advance technology: things that benefit both COG members and NEA membership,” he said.
The incoming COG President and CEO Stephanie Smith added, “Collaboration is really what is need to make progress in many areas, so we look forward to working with the NEA.”