The Working Group on Fuel Cycle Safety (WGFCS) of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) held an international workshop on Process and Safety Improvements Experienced in Fuel Cycle Facilities since 2010. The workshop was hosted by the NEA on 3-4 October 2022 at NEA Headquarters, OECD Boulogne, 46 quai Alphonse Le Gallo, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
Working under the mandate of the CSNI, the objective of the WGFCS is to advance the understanding for regulators, technical support organisations (TSOs) and operators of relevant aspects of nuclear fuel cycle safety in NEA member countries.
The objective of this workshop was to exchange information and discuss the process and safety improvements in fuel cycle facilities that have taken place in member countries after 2010, particularly after the Fukushima event in 2011.
The workshop recognised earlier work that the WGFCS has done on a specific level since 2010, refreshing it with developed experience of post-Fukushima changes, recent experience of the pandemic and from new members of the WGFCS. It drew together all of the experience in a single place and added to these the additional effect of advances in fuels on fuel cycle facilities.
The outcome will be a document compiling the workshop information that would potentially lead to further work the WGFCS would provide on the development of additional good practice and guidance over existing material. This is particularly useful for new member countries.
The workshop focused on facilities dedicated to conversion, enrichment, fuel manufacturing, interim spent fuel storage, spent fuel reprocessing, radioactive waste conditioning and on-site interim storage of radioactive waste and covered the full life cycle of these facilities. The final decommissioning of FCFs, legacy waste management, and final disposal was out of the scope of this workshop.
The workshop was centred on the following technical areas:
The workshop included an introductory session, three technical sessions devoted to presentations by participants on the topics identified above, and a final session. Each technical session started with an invited presentation from a key speaker. The final session summarised the discussions, identified best practices, as appropriate, and developed conclusions and recommendations for possible further CSNI actions.
All participants took part in the discussion and in the formulation of conclusions in the final session.
Programme of the workshop
Technical session 1 – FCS safety modifications implemented to meet design extension conditions, protect against the external hazards and climate change effects
Technical session 2 - Safety implications related to the extended time periods that various existing fuel cycle facilities are experiencing
Technical session 3 - Safety implications on FCF related to the need to modify design and operational practices to adapt to innovative fuels production, reprocessing or spent fuel storage and social upheaval e.g. pandemics or conflict
Final session – Discussion, development of conclusions and recommendations for further work