NEA Monthly News Bulletin - June 2013

New at the NEA

Approaches to estimating the costs of nuclear accidents

A Workshop on Approaches to Estimation of the Costs of Nuclear Accidents was held on 28-29 May 2013 as part of the Nuclear Development Committee (NDC) 2013-14 activity on the Cost of Nuclear Accidents, Liability Issues and their Impact on Electricity Costs. Participants from both NEA member and non-member countries – representing nuclear regulatory bodies, safety assessors, economists, radiological protection specialists and industry – shared their experience regarding the consequences of nuclear accidents, focusing in particular on costing aspects. During the first part of the workshop, participants presented analyses of existing studies on the costs of the accidents at the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants. During the second part, they discussed methodologies for estimating the costs of nuclear accidents. An expert group was established, and a study is expected to be finalised by the end of 2014.

New publications

Crisis Communication: Facing the Challenges, Workshop Proceedings, Madrid, Spain
NEA No. 7067, 240 pages.

CSNI Technical Opinion Papers No. 16: Defence in Depth of Electrical Systems
NEA No. 7070, 48 pages.

International Handbook of Evaluated Reactor Physics Benchmark Experiments
NEA No. 7140, DVD.

Nuclear safety

Safety of long-term interim storage facilities

An International Workshop on Safety of Long-term Interim Storage Facilities was organised by the Working Group on Fuel Cycle Safety (WGFCS) of the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) and hosted by the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) in Munich, Germany on 21-23 May 2013. The workshop brought together 90 participants from 16 NEA member countries and two international organisations who presented 29 technical papers on national approaches, safety requirements, regulatory framework and implementation issues, technical issues and operational experience, and needs for R&D in the area of long-term interim storage facilities dedicated to spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Participants concluded inter alia that it is important to consider the influence of non-technical aspects, such as public confidence. They also recognised the important role played by ageing and knowledge management, that there are advantages and disadvantages to wet and dry storage with no clearly preferred method, and that there are data and knowledge gaps about fuel behaviour after 40 years of storage. The outcomes of the workshop will feed into discussions in other NEA committees and working groups, which will create a basis for follow-up activities. More information is available at

Radioactive waste management

Actinide and brine chemistry in a salt repository: progress in all research areas

The Third Workshop on Actinide and Brine Chemistry in a Salt Repository (ABC Salt III) was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA on 15-17 April 2013. The workshop was co-organised by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal (INE) and the NEA Salt Club. Key topics discussed include international updates, brine chemistry, microbial effects studies, actinide high ionic strength chemistry and the modelling of high ionic strength actinide/brine chemistry. The use of salt for the permanent disposal of radioactive waste continues to be a key consideration in the German and US repository efforts. Technically, steady progress was reported in all research areas, notably in the characterisation of bacteria in salt. The modelling of high ionic strength systems is now focused on the development and use of the Pitzer approach, and several discussions looked into how to co-ordinate the various ongoing international database and modelling efforts. A fourth workshop is tentatively planned in Heidelberg, Germany in the spring of 2015. More information is available at

Radiological protection

Radiological protection and public health

The 71st meeting of the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) took place on 14-16 May. Almost 80 experts attended topical sessions organised with the CRPPH Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) to address issues and lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, including emergency and recovery management. The CRPPH agreed on a programme of work for the coming 12 months, including the creation of a new expert group to update the 2007 report on Scientific Issues and Emerging Challenges for Radiological Protection, as well as the organisation of workshops on science and values in radiological protection and communication strategies for dialogue with stakeholders. Highlights included a presentation by Indian experts on epidemiological studies in high background radiation areas.

Reporting on international short-term countermeasures

On 13 May, the CRPPH Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) reviewed and approved the reports entitled "International Short-term Countermeasures (ISC): 2012 Update" and "Discussion on Implementation of ICRP Recommendations Concerning Reference Levels and Optimisation". The ISC report explores the following: member information, general objectives and criteria, national organisation, emergency planning zones, emergency plans, the implementation of short-term countermeasures and information for the public as well as countermeasures for special groups and harmonisation.

Countries still in early stages of implementing ICRP recommendations

The CRPPH also approved reports by its Expert Group on the Implementation of International Recommendations for Emergency Situations (EGIRES). This body was set up to investigate the implementation of the new International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommendations and the revised IAEA's Basic Safety Standards (BSS) for emergency exposure situations, including accidents and consequence management for malicious acts. The EGIRES held five meetings between January 2011 and February 2013 and conducted a short survey of WPNEM members to collect information on national approaches to optimisation of urgent protective actions. The group has found that most countries are still in the early stages of implementing the processes. This work contributes to a common understanding of important concepts and assists in the use of reference levels and optimisation in the development of protection strategies in national plans.

Outcomes of the fourth international nuclear emergency exercise

On 14 May, the WPNEM also held a final topical session on the fourth international nuclear emergency exercise (INEX-4). The INEX-4 exercise focused on consequence management and transition to recovery in response to malicious acts involving the release of radioactive materials in an urban setting. A January summary report of INEX-4 described general outcomes and recommended future areas of focus. During the topical session, 16 participating countries discussed the applicability of the scenario, the necessity of an optimisation strategy, roles and responsibilities, registries and databases, compensation issues and decontamination methods. The report will now be updated to include an annex on this session's findings.

National emergency management preparedness reviewed post-Fukushima

Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, the WPNEM has been reviewing the status of national emergency management approaches in NEA member countries. A topical session on emergency management was organised on 15 May to discuss the findings of a recent survey on emergency management experience. The survey investigated emergency communications, trade and technical assessments of accident situations. The country perspectives of France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States were shared. Attendees included representatives of the Heads of European Radiological Protection Competent Authorities (HERCA), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the ICRP. The importance of communication plans was highlighted, as was monitoring strategy of goods/foods, technical assessment tools and the need to review emergency planning zones and to harmonise countermeasures. The outcomes will be reported by the WPNEM and will be used to shape future activities.

Nuclear law

International Nuclear Law Essentials: next session in October

The third session of the NEA's International Nuclear Law Essentials (INLE) programme will be held on 21-25 October 2013 in Paris. INLE is designed to provide professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the various interrelated legal issues bearing on the safe, efficient, secure and environmentally friendly use of nuclear energy. Since its inception in 2011, INLE has provided a unique training opportunity to professionals from over 30 countries. The INLE programme provides an intensive overview of the complex body of laws and legal regimes that comprise nuclear law and addresses current developments. Comprehensive presentations will be given by renowned specialists in nuclear law from international organisations, governments and private industry. For more information and the application, please visit:

Nuclear science

Handbook on reactor physics experiments

The International Reactor Physics Benchmark Experiments Project (IRPhEP) preserves reactor measurements, which are compiled into experimental benchmarks relevant to the reactor physics community. The eighth edition of IRPhE handbook was released in May and includes 131 benchmarks as well as new software called the IRPhE Database and Analysis Tool (IDAT). Developed at the NEA, IDAT will improve accessibility of information and the identification of relevant experiments. The IRPhEP is modelled on the International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project (ICSBEP), whose Technical Review Group held a meeting on 15-17 May hosted by the NEA. The purpose of the ICSBEP is to compile critical and subcritical experimental data into standardised benchmarks. This allows criticality safety analysts to validate calculation tools and cross-section libraries. The IRPhE handbook shares 65 benchmarks with the ICSBEP handbook, which serves as a reference of over 4 700 critical experiments performed worldwide.

International nuclear data evaluation and co-operation

The Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co-operation (WPEC) and associated technical subgroups met in Paris on 21-24 May. More than 60 experts from 14 countries and international organisations discussed technical issues related to the assimilation into basic nuclear data of information from integral experiments, the modelling of scattering angular distributions in the fast-neutron energy range, best practices in reporting and usage of experimental data for nuclear data evaluation in the resonance region, evaluation methodologies of fission product yield, and the definition of a modern nuclear database structure beyond the existing Evaluated Nuclear Data Format (ENDF). Delegates then reviewed the status of the major evaluated nuclear data libraries, progress in nuclear data measurement, the status of ongoing subgroups and new subgroup proposals. More information is available at

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