NEA Monthly News Bulletin - April 2011

Responding to the nuclear accident at Fukushima
On 11 March 2011, Japan experienced a major earthquake followed by a tsunami of cataclysmic magnitude. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) wishes to express it condolences to all those who have been affected by this disaster. It has offered its assistance to the Japanese authorities as they address the very challenging situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The NEA will be playing a key role in the evaluation of the accident and the dissemination of lessons learnt based on its various areas of expertise and its competence in addressing emergency and accident management issues. The following updates provide initial insights into some of the steps being taken by the NEA.

Nuclear safety and regulation

Flashnews activated to share accurate emergency information among nuclear regulators
On 11 March the NEA Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC) activated the Flashnews system in response to the Fukushima accident. Flashnews allows for the fast exchange of information among national nuclear regulators and is used to help inform the public about nuclear events occurring around the world.

New and existing nuclear safety groups consider Fukushima implications
The NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) will establish a senior-level task group to exchange information, co-ordinate activities and examine implications in relation to the Fukushima accident. Once established, members of the group will immediately begin exchanging information prior to the first meeting to be held in Paris in early May. The NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) will focus on the technical aspects of safety questions raised by the accident. It will identify issues that could require in-depth evaluation by existing or new nuclear safety task groups. The Fukushima accident will be a special topic for discussion during the June CNRA and CSNI meetings and subsequent working group sessions. Please visit the NEA website for more information on nuclear safety.

Radiological protection

INEX-4 and CRPPH meetings present opportunities to discuss Fukushima
The Fukushima accident will have a significant impact on NEA work in radiological protection. A meeting of the Working party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) on May 3-4 that inter alia will discuss the 4th International Nuclear Emergency Exercise (INEX-4) and the annual meeting of the  Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) on 17-19 May will present the first international opportunities for experts in this field to discuss the preliminary feedback from emergency measures taken in Japan. A further INEX workshop is planned for 6-7 December 2011. During the May meeting, the CRPPH will submit for approval a report summarising the resources needed to implement the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Publication 60 recommendations into national law and an assessment of the resources that will be needed to implement the new ICRP 103 recommendations. This will provide member countries with information important for implementing these new recommendations as detailed in the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection Against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources. More on NEA work in radiological protection can be found here.

Nuclear law

The legal aspects of the Fukushima accident
NEA Legal Affairs will dedicate a special session of the Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) on 15-16 June to discuss the accident at Fukushima and how the Japanese government intends to deal with liability and compensation for the resulting nuclear damage. In its capacity as secretariat, the NEA is prepared to accommodate discussions on member country initiatives in the field of third party liability for nuclear damage, especially where signatories to the 2004 protocols enhance their efforts for the entry into force of those protocols to provide better protection to potential victims of a nuclear accident. Legal questions related to the accident will be addressed in the June issue of the Nuclear Law Bulletin. Furthermore, the 2011 session of the International School of Nuclear Law will provide an opportunity for the most renowned international nuclear lawyers to exchange on the impacts, lessons learnt and consequences of this accident as it relates to international nuclear law. More information on nuclear law can be found here.

Nuclear science

Nuclear science groups prepared to reassess predictive capabilities
NEA nuclear science working parties and expert groups carry out technical studies in the areas of fuel cycle physics and chemistry, reactor physics, criticality safety, materials performance and radiation shielding. A key focus in each area is on the development, application and validation of modelling tools and their associated nuclear data. These tools are used by the nuclear industry in the design, operation and safety assessment of nuclear facilities including commercial nuclear power plants (NPPs). As details of the Fukushima accident emerge, and as the safety cases and emergency procedures for NPPs are reappraised, NEA nuclear science working parties and expert groups may be required to analyse new scenarios which characterise the evolution of the reactor core and the spent fuel ponds during such an event. Some of these scenarios might challenge the predictive capability of current modelling methods. In that case, new activities could be proposed and discussed by various nuclear science technical groups with the aim of targeting any shortfall in predictive capability, identifying possible methods developments to address the shortfall and providing the means to assess the accuracy of new methods developed. For more information on nuclear science, please visit the NEA website.

New publications

The Nuclear Regulator's Role in Assessing Licensee Oversight of Vendor and Other Contracted Services
ISBN: 978-92-64-99157-6, 38 pages.


Data Bank

NEA Data Bank newsletter

Computer program services

New computer programs available

31-MAR-11 CSNI2017 MCCI-2 PROJECT, Melt Coolability and Concrete Interaction Phase 2 Project
29-MAR-11 NEA-1857 PHITS-2.24, Particle and Heavy Ion Transport code System
28-MAR-11 CCC-0295 ELGATL, Calculation of Energy Spectra from Coupled Electron-Photon Slowing Down
22-MAR-11 USCD1240 VIM_NC, VIM color syntax for Nuclear Codes: NJOY, DRAGON, PARTISN, TORT, MONK, and MCNP
16-MAR-11 IAEA1287 SHIELD, Monte-Carlo Code for Simulating Interaction of High Energy Hadrons with Complex Macroscopic Targets
16-MAR-11 IAEA0970 STOPOW, Stopping Power of Fast Ions in Matter
15-MAR-11 USCD1238 ALICE2011, Particle Spectra from HMS precompound Nucleus Decay
07-MAR-11 CCC-0767 SWORD 3.2, SoftWare for Optimization of Radiation Detectors
03-MAR-11 NEA-1856 VESTA 2.0.3, Monte Carlo depletion interface code
03-MAR-11 NEA-1210 ZZ HATCHES-19, Database for radiochemical modelling

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