NEA Monthly News Bulletin - March 2012

New at the NEA

Dialogue with civil society in affected areas of Japan

With the co-operation of the NEA, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) organised a dialogue with residents of Date City, Japan on 25-26 February. This meeting was the second in a series of ICRP seminars that foster discussions among affected stakeholders in order to help identify priorities and to initiate rehabilitation programmes in follow-up to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The agenda focused on past accomplishments, current challenges and future initiatives to improve the radiological situation and living conditions for local inhabitants. About 50 representatives of civil society as well as central, prefectoral and local governments attended along with 50 residents of Fukushima prefecture. Date City is a community that has been significantly affected by contamination from the Fukushima accident. During the meeting, ways to help improve the situation were identified, including common agreements on radiological criteria (e.g. food contamination levels), waste management approaches and criteria for successful remediation.

New publications

Burn-up Credit Criticality Safety Benchmark – Phase VII
UO2 Fuel: Study of Spent Fuel Compositions for Long-term Disposal

ISBN: 978-92-64-99172-9, 180 pages.

Radiological protection

International meetings on remediation and restoration of environments

On 3-4 February, the NEA co-organised two days of international meetings on The Experience and Technology of Russia, Ukraine and Other CIS Countries on Remediation and Restoration of Environments. Hosted by the Japanese government and organised by the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU), the meetings provided opportunities for experts from zones most affected by the Chernobyl accident to share best practices in managing contaminated land. Read the presentations here.

Nuclear development

Nuclear Development Committee debates future priorities

The Nuclear Development Committee (NDC) held its 60th meeting on 1-2 February to review the current programme of work and to begin planning for that of 2013-14. It discussed the results of a questionnaire on the functioning of the Committee and debated its priorities for the future. The NDC will finalise its 2013-14 programme of work in October 2012. During the meeting, the Committee was also briefed by representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Commission on recent activities, the impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear accident, the European stress tests and the European Energy Roadmap to 2050.

Assessing long-term operation of nuclear power plants

The Ad hoc Expert Group on the Economics of Long-term Operation (LTO) of Nuclear Power Plants held its second meeting on 16-17 February with participants from Belgium, Finland, France, Hungary, Switzerland and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). During the meeting, members approved the methodology for the multi-criteria economic assessment of the LTO programmes in NEA member countries. The group also discussed preliminary results of the stress tests and the impact of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident on LTO activities. This group operates under the oversight of the NEA Nuclear Development Committee (NDC) and in close co-operation with the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA). A final project report will be issued in late 2012.  For more information on this group, please visit the NEA website.

Generation IV committees discuss future reactor technology

The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Steering Committees for Gas-cooled Fast Reactors (GFR) and Supercritical-water-cooled Reactors (SCWR) met during the last two weeks of February. GIF members Euratom, France, Japan and Switzerland have worked on GFR conceptual design and safety since signing a system arrangement in 2006. A second project dedicated to GFR fuel and materials is under discussion. Euratom, Canada, Japan and Russia are working on several SCWR projects dedicated to thermal-hydraulics and safety as well as materials and chemistry. Considered to be an evolution of today's light water reactors, the SCWR offers great potential in terms of design simplification and economics. However, challenges remain in terms of flow and heat transfer characteristics as well as developing fuel cladding materials able to withstand the aggressive conditions of supercritical water. For more information on Generation IV systems, see the GIF website.

Medical radioisotopes

NEA releases full-cost recovery guidance for medical isotope producers

The NEA has issued its Guidance Document – Full-cost Recovery for Molybdenum-99 Irradiation Services: Methodology and Implementation.  This document provides a methodology for reactor and alternative production technology (e.g., cyclotrons, accelerators) operators on how to undertake full-cost identification and implement full-cost recovery in the production of medical radioisotopes. This guidance document is the result of a key recommendation made by the NEA High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) in its 2011 policy approach to ensure the security of supply of medical radioisotopes. The NEA has also released a workbook that serves as a supporting tool, putting the concepts and formulas described in the document into a usable format for operators. Both the guidance document and the workbook are available on the NEA website.

Nuclear law

Apply for the International Nuclear Law Essentials summer session

The five-day International Nuclear Law Essentials (INLE) course, which will take place on 4-8 June 2012, is an intensive and comprehensive course in international nuclear law designed to accommodate the needs and interests of lawyers, scientists, policy-makers, and managers working in either the public or private sector. The International Nuclear Law Essentials programme builds on the foundation of the annual International School of Nuclear Law that the NEA co-sponsors with the University of Montpellier 1. Find out more about the INLE and register on the NEA website.

Apply for the 12th session of the International School of Nuclear Law

The NEA is currently accepting applications for the 12th session of the International School of Nuclear Law (ISNL) which will take place on 27 August-7 September 2012. Established in 2001 by the NEA in co-operation with the University of Montpellier 1, the ISNL provides participants with a comprehensive understanding of the various legal issues relating to the safe, efficient and secure use of nuclear energy. To date, the ISNL has provided a unique educational opportunity to more than 600 graduate students and professionals from around the world. The ISNL programme has evolved over the last decade to address developments in nuclear law, thus providing a high-quality, intensive overview of a complex body of laws and legal regimes. Find out more about the ISNL on the NEA website. The application deadline is 31 March 2012.

Nuclear science

Studying scientific issues of the nuclear fuel cycle

The NEA Working Party on Scientific Issues of the Fuel Cycle (WPFC) and its expert groups met on 13-17 February 2012. The WPFC reviewed ongoing activities and approved the establishment of a new Expert Group on Fuel Recycling Chemistry. This group will study emerging issues from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident concerning corium and site remediation. The Expert Group on Advanced Fuel Cycle Scenarios will review system code uncertainty propagation, which aims to identify uncertainties arising from advanced fuel cycle scenario studies including nuclear data, simplified models and scenario parameters. The Expert Group on Innovative Fuels will undertake a code-experiment benchmark on minor actinide bearing fuel research and development. The Task Force on Benchmarking of Thermal-Hydraulic Loop Models for Lead-alloy-cooled Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems also met on 23-24 February 2012 to discuss new experimental results from reference facilities in Korea and possible future activities using heavy-liquid-metal-cooled experimental facilities in Italy. Click here for more information on the WPFC.

Studying curium in France, Japan and the United States

The NEA has just issued Curium Management Studies in France, Japan and USA. The cost of managing curium in spent nuclear fuel is a key economic issue in the radioactive waste treatment cycle. Curium (Cm) is a major fission neutron emitter which needs special shielding and handling. With a half-life of 18.1 years, Cm-244 produces significant decay heat over a short period. Cm-245 has a half-life of 8 265 years and may dominate isotopic mass which could lead to potential safeguard issues. Curium is closely associated with americium due to their chemical similarity, causing curium management to be challenging. Several options for improved curium management have been studied such as: separating curium from americium before processing, recycling curium and americium without separation and waiting several decades before recycling used nuclear fuels. Read the full report here.

WPRS database developments and review of data requirements

The NEA Working Party on Scientific Issues of Reactor Systems (WPRS) held its 9th meeting on 17 February following meetings of its expert groups. A key component of the new technical programmes for these groups is the development and application of integral experiments databases for fuel performance (IFPE), radiation shielding (SINBAD) and international reactor physics (IRPhE). The WPRS has initiated an extensive review of current and future data requirements and will identify any changes needed to the structure, contents or review processes for these databases. The WPRS has also developed a prototype of the database analysis tool for IRPhE and its further development was discussed at the Expert Group on Reactor Physics and Advanced Nuclear Systems meeting.

Burn-up Credit Criticality Safety Benchmark – Phase VII released

After spent nuclear fuel is discharged from a nuclear reactor, fuel composition and reactivity continue to vary as a function of time due to the decay of unstable nuclides. Accurate predictions of the concentrations of long-lived radionuclides in spent fuel, which represent a significant potential hazard to human beings and to the environment over a very long period, are particularly necessary for radiological dose assessments. This report assesses the ability of existing computer codes and associated nuclear data to predict isotopic compositions and their corresponding neutron multiplication factor (keff) values for pressurised-water-reactor (PWR) UO2 fuel at 50 GWd/MTU burn-up in a generic spent fuel cask configuration. Fuel decay compositions and keff values have been calculated for 30 post-irradiation time steps out to one million years. This report is available on the NEA website.

Data Bank

NEA Data Bank newsletter

JEFF-3.1.2 Nuclear Data Library released

The latest version of the Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion File (JEFF) Evaluated Nuclear Data Library, JEFF-3.1.2, was released in February 2012. It contains a number of data types, including neutron and proton interaction data, radioactive decay data, fission yields and thermal scattering law data. Updates include new hafnium evaluations and more complete gamma-production data for fission products. JEFF-3.1.2 data are available on the NEA website in ENDF-6 neutron library format. The JEFF library combines the efforts of the JEFF, European Fusion Files (EFF) and European Activation Files (EAF) Working Groups to produce a common set of evaluated nuclear data mainly for fission and fusion applications.

Computer program services

New computer programs available



CALENDF-2010, Pointwise, Multigroup Neutron Cross-Sections and Probability Tables from ENDF/B Evaluations (Arrived)

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