The NEA assists its member countries in their efforts to ensure high standards of safety in the use of nuclear energy by facilitating international collaboration in effective and efficient nuclear regulation and cutting-edge nuclear safety research. The work of the Agency in nuclear safety and regulation is co-ordinated through the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and the Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI).
The CNRA, a forum for collaboration amongst member country nuclear regulatory bodies, held its bi-annual meeting on 31 May-1 June 2021. During this meeting, the committee approved a package of reforms that will revise its vision, mission, governance and organisational structure. These reforms will be carried out in line with long-term “Strategic Review” efforts, which aim to continuously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the CNRA. The majority of the changes will come into effect in January 2023.
In addition to the Strategic Review discussion, the committee approved several reports. These included updates to procedures related to the inspection of nuclear power plants and a report on developing performance measures during the application assessment phase of a licence for construction of a new nuclear project.
The CSNI, which is a forum for collaboration on the technical basis for the safety of nuclear installations, held its biannual meeting during the same week on 2-3 June 2021. The committee approved a number of technical reports, including the results of a benchmark that compares different approaches to applying probabilistic safety assessment to digital systems and an assessment of the capabilities required to effectively transition from an operating organisation to one focused on decommissioning. The proceedings of the International Workshop on Nuclear Fuel Modelling to Support Safety and Performance Enhancement for Water-Cooled Reactors were also approved at this meeting.
Another key highlight of the discussions was the formation of two new expert groups to make recommendations on improving the effectiveness of the committee’s activities and ensuring those activities address member country priorities. The first group will consider activities that could be undertaken by the CSNI in order to address priorities in safety knowledge gaps for small modular reactors. The second group will review the CSNI’s various activities on fire research and make proposals to improve co-ordination, relevance and efficiency.