NEA Monthly News Bulletin - January 2012

New at the NEA

Webcast: NEA organises peer review of Swedish spent fuel repository

At the request of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), the NEA organised an international, independent peer review of the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company's (SKB's) reporting of post-closure safety in the license application for the spent nuclear fuel repository to be constructed in Forsmark, Sweden. The NEA peer review supports the independent review by the Swedish decision makers by providing an international reference regarding the maturity of SKB's spent fuel disposal programme vis-à-vis best practices in long-term nuclear safety and radiological protection. Public hearings were held on 12, 13 and 15 December during which the NEA panel posed questions to SKB representatives. On 16 December, the NEA panel presented its preliminary conclusions on the peer review. Watch the webcast of the hearings and preliminary conclusions. The final review report is expected in May 2012.

New publications

Trends towards Sustainability in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
ISBN: 978-92-64-16810-7, 184 pages.

NEA News
NEA News is the professional journal of the NEA. Included in this issue:

  • Carbon pricing and the competitiveness of nuclear power
  • Fukushima: liability and compensation
  • NEA international peer reviews of post-accident protection policy
  • MDEP: producing results in a challenging time for nuclear power

Également disponible en français :
AEN Infos

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

Vient de paraître en français :
Le rôle de l'autorité de sûreté nucléaire dans l'évaluation de la surveillance par l'exploitant des services sous-traités
ISBN : 978-92-64-99167-5, 40 pages.

Nuclear safety and regulation

Safety experts and regulators meet

The NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) met on 5-6 December and 7-9 December 2011 respectively. During the CNRA meeting, participants discussed the current programme of work; the final report from the senior-level task group on long-term operation; the activities of the new task group on non-conforming, counterfeit, fraudulent and suspect parts; and the senior task group recommendations on new international activities in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Representatives attending the CSNI meeting from the 30 NEA member countries, the Russian Federation and India discussed follow-up technical work stemming from the Fukushima accident. Both the CNRA and the CSNI will co-ordinate with the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) on cross-cutting activities related to the Fukushima accident.

Co-ordinating activities on nuclear safety post-Fukushima

On 7 December 2011, the bureaus of the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA), the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) and the NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) held a joint meeting in order to better collaborate on agency-wide activities related to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. In addition to carrying out work within their respective mandates, each committee agreed to a process to support work of interest to all committees. For example, the CNRA Senior-level Task Group on Impacts of the Fukushima Accident identified several areas in which member countries would benefit from international co-operation that would be best addressed by the CSNI or the CRPPH. In moving forward on Fukushima-related activities, the CSNI will focus its attention on specific technical tasks in the areas of plant robustness, defence-in-depth, safety management including human and organisational performance, and possible further research in severe accident phenomena. The CNRA will focus on regulatory implications and decisions, while the CRPPH will focus on off-site emergency preparedness. The committees plan to meet jointly in the future to monitor progress and the effectiveness of the process.

Radioactive waste management

NEA conducting peer review of Belgian disposal facility safety case

The Belgian Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials (ONDRAF/NIRAS) is preparing a license application to construct and operate a surface disposal facility for low- and intermediate-level waste (L&ILW) in Dessel, Belgium. The Belgian government has asked the NEA to conduct an international peer review of the safety case for constructing and operating this facility in order to provide an international perspective on the ONDRAF/NIRAS long-term safety assessment. The terms of reference have been established and the NEA has assembled an independent technical review team which began the review process during its first meeting in December 2011. The question and answer period of the review will take place from January to April 2012 and a five-day review workshop will be held in April/May 2012 to discuss outstanding questions.  The review will conclude in July 2012, and the results will be documented in an NEA report. 

Reversibility and retrievability (R&R) final project report

From 2007 to 2011, the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) led a project to study the issues of reversibility and retrievability (R&R) in geological disposal of radioactive waste. Participants from 15 countries, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Commission (EC) contributed to the initiative. The project culminated in an International Conference and Dialogue in Reims (France) in December 2010. Project milestones included a bibliographic review, a survey of NEA member countries' positions and discussions within an expansive group of interested parties to define the current international understanding of R&R. The project acknowledged the range of approaches being adopted in national programmes and the range of stakeholder positions regarding these concepts. Read the full R&R project report, the key findings and the final project leaflet on the NEA website.

Radiological protection

Radiological protection activities and Fukushima

The NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) Bureau met on 5-6 December 2011 to discuss work related to radiological protection aspects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The CRPPH has undertaken a number of Fukushima-related activities following its meeting in May and its discussions with the Japanese government. These activities include sharing decisions and short-term countermeasure criteria with respect to emergency management and occupational exposure management in severe accidents. The Bureau also encouraged CRPPH members and the NEA Secretariat to support the upcoming conferences and workshops on stakeholder involvement that will take place on 4 and 15-17 February in the Fukushima prefecture, Japan. The CRPPH has established an Expert Group on Radiological Protection Aspects of the Fukushima Accident (EGRPF) to guide those activities and to co-ordinate with other international organisations to ensure compatible, non-redundant efforts.

Exploring new approaches to short-term emergency countermeasures

The NEA Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) met on 7-8 December 2011 with the participation of 33 representatives from 21 countries, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Commission (EC). Participants discussed follow-up activities to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident within the framework of the working party, and reviewed the final status of the Fourth International Nuclear Emergency Exercise (INEX-4) on Consequence Management and Transition to Recovery and ongoing activities of the expert groups. The WPNEM decided to delay the INEX-4 evaluation workshop and to produce an analysis for detailed evaluation of completed questionnaires by the INEX-4 planning group for the next WPNEM meeting in November 2012. In addition, the WPNEM will update the NEA report on Short-term Countermeasures in Case of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency which was published in 2003. The working party will issue a new survey to member countries in early 2012 to explore new approaches and to establish an overview of current short-term countermeasures. 

NEA hosts 22nd IACRNE meeting

The 22nd meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE) was hosted by the NEA on 8-9 December 2011 at the invitation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Representatives from 14 participating organisations and 8 observer bodies discussed the 2011-2013 work plan, reviewed the conclusions from the previous meeting and evaluated lessons learnt in the inter-agency response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Participants noted the report on the preparation of the next Convention Exercise (ConvEx-3) scheduled for 2012 and considered proposals for establishing a standing working group on transport. They also discussed the process for revising the IAEA Safety Standards document: Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (No. GS-R-2). The IACRNE considered applications by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordinator Centre (EADRCC) and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) for co-sponsoring the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organisations Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR-JPLAN).

Nuclear development

NEA participates in COP17 in South Africa

NEA Principal Economist Jan Horst Keppler presented "The post-Fukushima Perspectives of Nuclear Energy: Challenges and Opportunities" at the Nuclear Energy Seminar organised by the South African government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Durban, South Africa. The seminar was timely, as South Africa is preparing a cabinet proposal for the construction of a new nuclear power plant. Given its status as an OECD enhanced engagement country, there could be possibilities for future collaboration. While low expectations and flexibility of all major parties during COP17 climate change negotiations offered a realistic chance of realising a substantive climate change agreement by 2020, nuclear energy and the electricity sector in general (renewables apart) remain underrepresented. This offers a possible role for the NEA to address this imbalance by co-ordinating with others a more effective presentation of the climate benefits of nuclear energy.

Medical radioisotopes

NEA participates in US Molybdenum-99 meeting

On 5-6 December 2011, the NEA presented key findings and the policy approach from its High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) at the US National Nuclear Security Administration's Molybdenum-99 (99Mo) Topical Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During the meeting, international stakeholders discussed progress made towards achieving the production of 99Mo without the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in support of non-proliferation objectives and global reliability of supply. NEA work was cited by many presenters and was considered to provide the leading policy and economic analysis for the 99Mo supply chain. The NEA also presented its new project on the market cost and capacity impacts of converting to use of low enriched uranium targets. Several presentations highlighted positive developments for non-HEU based projects, encouraged through the US domestic programme for providing a reliable US supply.

Data Bank

NEA Data Bank newsletter

Nuclear Data Week 2011

The NEA hosted a Nuclear Data Week from 28 November to 2 December 2011 to review and co-ordinate activities in the field of nuclear data measurement, evaluation and validation for nuclear energy applications. More than 100 experts from 20 countries and international organisations took part in the meetings. An international Workshop on Nuclear Data Measurements was co-organised by the NEA Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion (JEFF) project and the French research group Gestion des déchets et production d'énergie par des options nouvelles (GEDEPEON). The workshop promoted co-operation between experimental data producers and users such as evaluators and reactor physicists with the objective to further improve the JEFF evaluated library. In the second half of the week, JEFF project participants held their bi-annual meeting to review progress of recent data evaluation work and to discuss feedback from users of the JEFF library.

Computer program services

New computer programs available



SINBAD FUSION, Neutronics Benchmark Experiments (Arrived)



SINBAD REACTOR, Shielding Benchmark Experiments. (Arrived)



EASY-2010, European Neutron Activation System (Arrived)



ZZ VITAMINB7/BUGLEB7, Broad-Grp, Fine-Grp, Coupled N/Gamma Cross-Sec Lib derived from ENDF/B-VII.0 Nuclear Data (Arrived)



RESRAD 6.5, Residual Radioactive Material Guideline Implementation (Arrived)



ZZ VITJEFF311.BOLIB, JEFF-3.1.1 Multi-Group Coupled (199n + 42gamma) X-Sec Lib in AMPX Fmt for Nuclear Fission Applic. (Tested)



IFPE/IFA-514/565, LWR MOX Fuel Irradiation Tests - HBWR Irradiation with the Instrument Rig, IFA-514/565 (JAEA) 6 rods (Arrived)



ZZ V1000CT-1&2, VVER-1000 Main Coolant Pump Switching-on, Coolant Mixing Tests, Main Steam-Line Break Benchmarks (Arrived)

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