NEA Monthly News Bulletin - November 2013

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Joint Declaration on Co-operation signed with the China Atomic Energy Authority

The NEA and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) have signed a Joint Declaration on Co‑operation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. The agreement foresees co‑operation in a number of areas, including nuclear safety, nuclear science, new reactor designs, radiological protection and radioactive waste management. It also provides for collaboration on nuclear energy technology development, economic analyses and the fuel cycle. According to NEA Director-General Luis Echávarri, "The Joint Declaration will facilitate wider international co‑operation on fundamentally important scientific research, the assessment of innovative technologies and the development of national and international legal frameworks, all of which will further strengthen the safety of nuclear power."

Nuclear safety

Fukushima Daiichi benchmark study

The NEA Benchmark Study on the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (BSAF) was initiated in 2012 to evaluate the progression of the accident and the current status of Fukushima Daiichi units 1-3 in order to assist with future investigations and ultimately with fuel removal. On 15-17 October 2013, more than 30 representatives from BSAF member organisations in France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States met to review progress and to agree on a path forward to completion of the project. Participants noted that the amount of modelling and investigative work into possible accident scenarios provided a good basis for future work, and that there was agreement between the various analyses and the limited information available on plant behaviour. Differences in analysis assumptions were seen as an important basis for future investigation. Participants also mapped out a schedule for the remaining project activities, with a view to the completion of a final report in the latter half of 2014.

NEA holds SFP seminar

On 22-23 October 2013, the NEA held a seminar for the SFP project on experimental data for hydraulic and ignition phenomena of prototypic water reactor fuel assemblies, with nearly 40 specialists from 13 participating countries in attendance. Twenty presentations were delivered over three technical sessions covering all aspects of the project, including experimental results, analytical modelling of the experiments with system and severe accident codes, and ongoing and future research on spent fuel pools under accident conditions. The seminar was closed with a presentation summarising major technical outputs, particularly the added value of the project with regard to the sound database built, insights gained into the governing scenario for a total loss of coolant, the current predictability of codes and missing safety-significant data, and the resulting impetus for investigating air oxidation scenarios through separate effect tests.

NEA holds workshop on nuclear regulatory approaches

On 28-30 October 2013, the NEA held a workshop on regulatory approaches and the characteristics of an effective regulator, hosted by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in Stockholm.  The first part of the workshop focused on the SSM study "Regulatory Approaches in Nuclear Power Supervision". The second part of the workshop reviewed the characteristics of an effective regulator and included a panel session on their importance to a given organisation and the challenges that the organisation must overcome to achieve them. The panel was formed by Dr. Jean-Christophe Niel of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), Mr. Kenzo Oshima of Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Mr. Colin Patchett of the United Kingdom Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Mr. Petteri Tiippana of the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), Mr. Lennart Carlsson of SSM and Mr. Javier Reig of the NEA.

Radioactive waste management

International symposium on the safety case for deep geological disposal

On 7-9 October 2013, the NEA held its second International Symposium on the Safety Case for Deep Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste. The symposium was organised by the NEA Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) and assessed the safety case state of the art and best practices taking into account the interplay of technical, regulatory and societal issues. The symposium attracted nearly 170 participants representing 65 organisations from 17 countries and international bodies. A synopsis of the symposium is currently being developed by the Programme Committee, and it is anticipated that the proceedings will be issued later this year. The symposium was immediately followed by the IGSC 2013 annual meeting (IGSC-15) on 10-11 October 2013. Further information on the IGSC is available online.

AtomEco 2013

On 30-31 October 2013, representatives from the NEA attended the 7th International Forum AtomEco 2013 in Moscow, Russia. The Head of the NEA Radiological Protection and Radioactive Waste Management Division delivered an opening speech and was a panellist in the forum's plenary session. In a stand-alone session dedicated to the NEA, six presentations were given by the NEA Secretariat to present the role of the Agency in assisting its member countries in maintaining and further developing the safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Presentations included the concept of the safety case for deep geological disposal, the role of geoscientific evidence in stakeholder confidence, future challenges in decommissioning and the economic aspects of the back end of the fuel cycle. The Head of NEA Legal Affairs gave a presentation on nuclear liability in the context of decommissioning and radioactive waste management.

Radiological protection

NEA expert group reviews IAEA nuclear emergency preparedness and response standard

On 14-15 October 2013, the NEA Expert Group on the Implications of Recommendations (EGIR) met to review the draft International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety series requirement document "Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency" (DS457). The new safety standard will replace GS-R-2 which is co-sponsored by the NEA. The EGIR reviewed the draft document and proposed amendments to reflect more clearly the new recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) that focus on emergency exposure situations (namely publications 103 and 109). The EGIR noted in particular that the draft IAEA requirement-level standard should better reflect the central function of the protection strategy and the optimisation principle. The EGIR review will be circulated to the NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) and its Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) for approval, and sent to the IAEA by the end of November 2013.

Nuclear science

ICSBEP Handbook - 2013 edition

The 2013 edition of the International Handbook of Evaluated Criticality Safety Benchmark Experiments is now available. Evaluated criticality safety benchmark data are given in nine volumes that span over 66 000 pages. The handbook contains 558 evaluations with benchmark specifications for 4 798 critical, near-critical or subcritical configurations, 24 criticality alarm placement/shielding configurations with multiple dose points for each, and 200 configurations that have been categorised as fundamental physics measurements that are relevant to criticality safety applications. The DVD can be obtained by completing the online Handbook Request Form. The handbook also includes an updated version of the Database for the International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project (DICE). As of November 2013, DICE can be accessed online.

The Kurchatov Institute hosts two NEA nuclear criticality safety meetings

On 7-11 October 2013, the NEA Working Party on Nuclear Criticality Safety (WPNCS) and three of its associated expert groups held their annual meeting at the NEA. Technical topics discussed included assay data for spent nuclear fuel, burn-up credit criticality and criticality excursion analyses. On 24-25 October, the WPNCS expert group meetings on uncertainty analysis for criticality safety assessment and on advanced Monte Carlo techniques were exceptionally hosted by the Russian National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute in Moscow. It was the first time since Russia joined the NEA in January 2013 that Russia officially participated in the WPNCS. Some 70 scientists attended the annual meetings at the NEA and around 40 scientists participated in the meetings at the Kurchatov Institute.

Latest IRPhE Project meeting held in Moscow

On 21-23 October 2013, the tenth technical review meeting of the International Reactor Physics Benchmark Experiments (IRPhE) Project was held at the IBRAE Nuclear Safety Institute in Moscow, Russia. The meeting was attended by over 30 participants from Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Eight new series of reactor physics experiments were reviewed for inclusion in the March 2014 edition of the IRPhE Project Handbook. Further information on the IRPhE Project is available on the NEA website.

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