FRAME Workshop on Future Research for Accident Management Enhancement in operating and future reactors, informed by Fukushima Daiichi insights

Context of the workshop

Since its inception, the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has served as a flexible and powerful platform for multinational research co-operation, particularly in areas related to nuclear safety. The NEA projects have for decades enabled nuclear safety regulators, industry and research organisations to share research costs and results. That, in turn, has supported safety regulations and practices and facilitated their harmonisation around the world.

The NEA held the Nuclear Safety Research Joint Projects Week: Success Stories and Opportunities for Future Development from 9 to 13 January 2023 to review the accomplishments of the Joint Nuclear Safety Projects over the last four decades and to discuss future perspectives. A key point of the event discussions was related to the challenges ahead (see the Summary and Main Outcomes of the NEA Nuclear Safety Research Joint Projects Week) particularly concerning safety research for accident management in operating and future reactors considering:

  • The need to maintain, thirteen years after the Fukushima Daiichi accident, international interest as well as public and private support for related research to address identified knowledge gaps and to benefit from enhanced use of insights gained from accident analyses for accident management approaches.
  • The closure in 2024 and 2025 of seven NEA collaborative projects (ATLAS-3, ETHARINUS, QUENCH-ATF, THEMIS, ESTER, PANDA and ROSAU) addressing issues identified through the Fukushima Daiichi accident investigations and analyses, entails the risk of losing unique capabilities with long-term built experimental facilities and expertise with significant investments. As built facilities and expertise are able to address some remaining gaps, especially for advanced fuel technologies (ATFs, high burn-ups, increased enrichment) for existing reactors and emerging issues for new reactors, their loss would certainly be detrimental.
  • The need to focus the research, considering remaining gaps (from the viewpoints of industry, regulators, and researchers) and developing frameworks around sets of complementary experimental facilities, in addressing needs for both operating and future reactors.

Event participants recommended to continue the discussions in fora reuniting regulators, industry and operators to identify core capabilities that will be needed to address collaboratively, in the short and long term, the safety issues for operating and future reactors.

Workshop objectives

The workshop is organised as a response to the above recommendation. It will provide an opportunity for nuclear safety regulators, industry, and research organisations to share their views on how the Fukushima Daiichi accident has been used to inform accident management approaches for operating and future reactors, and on remaining potentials for their enhancement.

It will also review research capabilities and opportunities offered by research facilities’ operators.

As such, it will be a forum where regulators, industry and research operators will share views on potential future collaborative research.

Workshop discussions will result in recommendations on research directions, capabilities and stakeholder involvement needed in order to continue supporting the development of optimised accident management strategies for operating and future reactors. 

Workshop structure

The workshop is organised in three sessions:

  • Session 1 will feature presentations on safety knowledge gaps and emerging issues for accident management in reactors, considering insights from the Fukushima Daiichi accident;
  • Session 2 will feature presentations on collaborative research programmes, capabilities and potential future research by operators;
  • Session 3 will feature a panel to discuss further dissemination and integration of Fukushima Daiichi insights, key research capabilities, related frameworks and needed stakeholder involvement for the future.

Organising Committee and sponsors

General Chair: Toyoshi FUKETA, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), University of Tokyo, Japan

Members of the Organising Committee

  • Alice DUFRESNE, NEA, France
  • Hossein ESMAILI, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC), United States
  • Mitch FARMER, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), United States
  • Toyoshi FUKETA, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Didier JACQUEMAIN, NEA, France
  • Yuji KUMAGAI, NEA, France
  • Terttaliisa LIND, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland
  • Shinya MIZOKAMI, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), Japan
  • Andrew MORREALE, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada
  • Damian PEKO, US Department of Energy (DOE), United States
  • Joy REMPE, Rempe and Associates, LLC, United States

Sponsors: ANL, DOE, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), NEA, USNRC

26 - 27 September 2024
Argonne National Laboratory, Building 240, Room 1416, Lemont, IL, United States