NEA Monthly News Bulletin - December 2014

New at the NEA

Mr Richard J. K. Stratford and Mrs Marie-Elise HoedemakersNEA Director-General opens the Northeast Asia Nuclear Safety Symposium

On 26 November 2014, the NEA Director-General opened the Northeast Asia Nuclear Safety Symposium (2nd TRM+) in Seoul, Korea. During his presentation, he stressed the importance of the human dimension in nuclear safety and finding mechanisms to implement safety culture concepts effectively in different national contexts. He noted that the NEA is in a very good position to help facilitate further nuclear safety discussions in the region, and assured participants of the NEA's support for that interaction. In closing, he recalled that "All problems have solutions, and working together we can overcome any challenge."

New publications

Nuclear Energy Data 2014
NEA No. 7197

See the data about nuclear capacity and electricity generation

State-of-the-art Report on Innovative Fuels for Advanced Nuclear Systems
NEA No. 6895

Nuclear safety and regulation

Addressing important lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accidentAddressing important lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident

The NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) held its biannual meeting on 3-4 December 2014. The Committee approved several new reports, including three that address important lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident on behaviour of spent fuel pools under accident conditions, on ensuring robustness of electrical systems and on margins for metallic components under seismic loads. In addition, Committee members approved eight new tasks, including a post-Fukushima review of safety developments at fuel cycle facilities and a status report on long-term management of severe accidents at nuclear plants. The Committee also reviewed the progress of task groups established to identify safety research opportunities during the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and to develop common approaches to ensuring nuclear installations are adequately protected against natural external events.

Advancing nuclear regulatory activitiesAdvancing nuclear regulatory activities

At its biannual meeting on 1-2 December 2014, the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) held a special information exchange session with the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Policy Group representatives to discuss regulatory needs regarding safety design criteria and future interactions with safety authorities. The Committee agreed to invite CNRA and CSNI member countries to volunteer for an ad hoc group to engage in GIF initiatives. Depending on feedback from member countries, the ad hoc group is expected to be set up in 2015. Other highlights of the meeting included the report on the activities of the Senior-level Task Group on Defence-in-Depth (STG-DiD) and the preliminary results from the 2014 International Workshop on Operating Experience Programme Effectiveness Measures, which was held on 8-10 September 2014 in Garching, Germany. In addition, Committee members elected two new vice-chairs, Mr William Dean of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Mr Petteri Tiippana of Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

Benchmark Study of the Accident at Fukushima Daiichi

The participants in the first phase of the NEA Benchmark Study of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (BSAF), involving 15 organisations from eight NEA member countries, held their final meeting on 24-28 November 2014. Inititated in 2011 by the CSNI, the BSAF aims to analyse the accident progression and to provide information on the current status inside the reactors to support safe and timely decommissioning, as well as to validate and improve computer codes used for the modelling of severe accidents. At the November meeting, participants reviewed the draft final report, which will be issued in early 2015. They also provided their best estimates of the extent of core damage at Fukushima Daiichi and identified areas where further information is required. Discussions are now underway to move to the second phase of the project, which will extend the analysis to look at the behaviour and dispersal of fission products following the accident.

THAI-2 Project concludes with final seminar that promises more

The NEA Thermal-hydraulics, Hydrogen, Aerosols and Iodine (THAI) Project, which uses experiments in the large-scale THAI facility in Germany to develop and improve nuclear accident analysis in the areas of iodine behaviour, hydrogen combustion and mitigation techniques, held two expert meetings on 17-19 November 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany. The THAI-2 Project Concluding Seminar, organised in conjunction with the THAI-3 follow-up proposal meeting, involved extensive expert discussions on the use of THAI-2 results and the proposals for the future phase of the THAI Project. Meeting participants recognised that the results of the THAI Project have been very useful for real reactor issues, such as the engineering of passive-autocatalytic recombiners (PARs), experienced by both the project partners and those with access to the THAI data. Participants also agreed that the analytical work derived from this data was being rapidly transferred into safety analyses and that a follow-up was necessary. The THAI-3 proposals were discussed in detail. So far 18 member countries, including both existing and potential new partners, have indicated a strong interest in the proposals. A detailed draft proposal for THAI-3 is expected to be circulated in 2015.

Nuclear development

New technical and economic studies on nuclear energy development and the fuel cycleNew technical and economic studies on nuclear energy development and the fuel cycle

At its meeting on 19-20 November 2014, the NEA Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC) approved its programme of work for 2015-2016. In addition to the regular activities related to the publication of Uranium: Resources, Production and Demand and Nuclear Energy Data, activities include work on projected costs of electricity generation (as a joint project with the International Energy Agency), policy options needed to ensure a level playing field for the development of low-carbon technologies with appropriate internalisation of system costs and assessment of the potential of nuclear cogeneration. Future activities will also include examining innovations in water-cooled reactor technologies and current R&D funding and priorities in NEA member countries.

Radioactive waste management

Discussions on diffusion characterisation in clayExchange of information on nuclear installation decommissioning projects

On 5-6 November 2014, the Management Board of the NEA Co-operative Programme for the Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information Concerning Nuclear Installation Decommissioning Projects (CPD) convened for its annual meeting. Managers of decommissioning projects from nine countries were informed of the activities and scope of the recently established CPD Task Group on Recycling and Reuse of Material. During discussions of the CPD Technical Advisory Group (TAG) activities, the Management Board underlined the importance of supporting the ISOE programme relating to radiological protection issues in decommissioning and invited CPD member organisations to strengthen their involvement in the ISOE. In this sense, the CPD will support the work of the new ISOE Working Group on Radiological Protection Aspects of Decommissioning Activities in Nuclear Power Plants. Following a recommendation from the TAG, two Danish Decommissioning projects were accepted in the CPD programme as was a third decommissioning project from Sellafield. The meeting ended with an agreement on the way forward for the implementation of a TAG database to preserve information and experience on decommissioning projects shared by the CPD member organisations.

Stakeholder confidence in radioactive waste managementStakeholder confidence in radioactive waste management

On 12-14 November 2014, the NEA Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) held its annual meeting, which was attended by 37 delegates representing 12 countries and the European Commission. Participants discussed the themes of transparency, social media and added value. Delegates from Canada, France, the Russian Federation, Switzerland and the United Kingdom provided extended updates on national developments in the field of stakeholder engagement. The subject of waste transportation and stakeholder confidence was also presented and welcomed as a potential new topic for the Forum. The meeting included a topical session on sustainable reporting and accountability standards, with examples given by Italy and the Russian Federation. In addition, the FSC delegates reviewed two forthcoming studies on stakeholder involvement tools and added value.

Management of the on-site radioactive waste at Fukushima Daiichi

On 27-28 November 2014, the NEA Expert Group on Fukushima Waste Management and Decommissioning R&D (EGFWMD) held its second meeting. Participants included 14 experts from eight countries and an observer from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Case studies from past accidents at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Windscale, as well as the radiological contamination situation on the Kola peninsula, were presented to explore lessons that can be learnt for the management of the waste in Fukushima in the fields of regulator/implementer dialogue, radiological characterisation and the physical nature of the waste, the R&D programme needed and stakeholder involvement. In addition, participating experts discussed the need for waste classification and categorisation, waste conditioning, waste volume reduction and the destination of the waste into storage or a repository. The meeting closed with invited presentations on new analytical techniques for radiological characterisation of contaminated materials and on experiences from dialogue with stakeholder after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

Radiological protection

Scientific, societal, implementation and regulatory challenges for radiological protection

The NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) has long been interested in the state-of-the-art in radiological protection science, as this is one of the key aspects of radiological protection policy, regulation and application. Its Expert Group on Radiological Protection Science (EGRPS) has recently completed its final draft document, which will be discussed by the CRPPH Bureau and sent to the CRPPH for review and approval in April 2015. The report covers advances in radiobiology and epidemiology, cancer risks at low doses, non-cancer effects and individual sensitivity. The report also addresses social science and stakeholder involvement, and the implications of new science and experience on planned, existing and emergency exposure situations. Finally, it provides an assessment and recommendations for future research directions. The report's release will be announced in the NEA Monthly News Bulletin.

NEA participates in the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies

As one of the co-sponsors of the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organisations (EPR-JPLAN) and a member of the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE), the NEA participated in the 24th meeting of the IACRNE in Luxembourg on 19-21 November 2014. The meeting, which was attended by representatives of 12 IACRNE member organisations, was hosted by the European Commission. At the meeting, the NEA presented its report on The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident: OECD/NEA Nuclear Safety Response and Lessons Learnt, relevant reports by the NEA Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM), ongoing surveys on emergency preparedness requirements for decommissioning reactors and lessons learnt from non-nuclear industries, as well as the implementation strategy for the INEX-5 exercise on notification, communication and interfaces related to catastrophic events involving radiation or radiological materials. The Committee agreed to announce the INEX-5 exercise through the Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies (USIE) platform and the use of USIE-Exercise site for regional table-top exercises.

Discussions on diffusion characterisation in clayUpdates on occupational exposure

A series of Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) meetings, including the ISOE Bureau meeting, the annual session of the ISOE Management Board and a meeting of the Working Group on Data Analysis (WGDA), was held on 3-6 November 2014 and attended by participants from nuclear electricity utilities and national regulatory authorities from 15 ISOE countries. The Management Board reviewed 2014 achievements and the programme of work for 2015. Key outcomes included approvals of the Technical Co-operation Agreement with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) to facilitate the exchange of information on the optimisation of occupational radiation protection in the operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants, and the expert group report on "Occupational Radiation Protection in Severe Accident Management". A Joint ISOE-CPD Topical Session on Decommissioning was organised on 5 November to discuss the proposal for establishing a new Working Group on Radiological Protection Aspects of Decommissioning Activities in Nuclear Power Plants and to discuss trends and areas that need to be studied further by the working group. The ISOE Management Board approved the establishment of the new working group, and a call for nominations will be announced by the NEA Secretariat in January 2015.

Nuclear law

Nuclear liability and international nuclear transport

The NEA Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) met on 19-20 November 2014 and among other topics, reviewed recent NEA Legal Affairs activities and discussed potential future activities. Delegates from Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Republic of Korea presented updates on national developments in nuclear law, while a European Commission representative delivered information on the EURATOM Safeguards. The meeting agenda also included a topical session on nuclear liability and transportation, which covered reviews of international nuclear transport under the international nuclear liability conventions, i.e. the Paris Convention, the Vienna Conventions and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation. In addition to a presentation by the World Nuclear Transport Institute (WNTI), the session provided analyses of various issues related to international nuclear transport from the operator's, transporter's and the insurance perspectives.

Data Bank

Thermochemical Database Project enters fifth phase

On 18-19 November 2014, the Management Board of the Thermochemical Database (TDB) Project, a joint activity run by the NEA Data Bank and the Radioactive Waste Management Committee, met for the first time since the official initiation of the Project's fifth phase (TDB-5) on 7 April 2014. At the meeting, the status of current activities was discussed and the Programme of Work for 2015 was approved. In addition, the initiation of the State-of-the-Art report on Thermodynamic Considerations for Actinide Elements in High Ionic Strength Aqueous Solutions was unanimously approved. During this new four-year phase, TDB activities will initially concentrate on finalising the reviews of the previous phase of the project (TDB-IV) and completing the State-of-the-Art report on the Thermodynamic Considerations for Cement Minerals. Project members will also begin preparations for the 2nd Update on the Chemical Thermodynamics of Uranium, Neptunium, Plutonium, Americium and Technetium, as well as a new State-of-the-Art report on the Thermodynamic Considerations for Actinide Elements in High Ionic Strength Aqueous Solutions.

Nuclear Data Week 2014

On 24-28 November 2014, the NEA Data Bank hosted Nuclear Data Week to promote co-operation among experimentalists, nuclear data evaluators and end-users of nuclear data. Organised within the framework of the Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion File (JEFF) Project since 2010, NEA Nuclear Data Week aims at fostering ties among various nuclear data expert communities in order to address the needs and challenges of nuclear systems more effectively and with sufficient anticipation. This year's Nuclear Data Week was attended by over 70 experts from 16 countries and international organisations representing the JEFF Project and the Nuclear Systems and Scenarios Project of the French research framework NEEDS. A workshop on nuclear data measurements kicked off the events, followed by biannual meetings of the JEFF Project and a meeting of the Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co-operation (WPEC) "Subgroup 39". During the five-day technical programme, delegates and experts reviewed progress of recent experimental programmes and ongoing evaluation work in both the fission and fusion fields, including the study of methodologies for providing feedback from integral experiments for nuclear data adjustment.

Computer program services

Training courses



AIREKMOD-RR, Reactivity Transients in Nuclear Research Reactors



SINBAD REACTOR, Shielding Benchmark Experiments



IFPE/IFA-591, JAEA Power Ramp Tests of MOX Fuel Rods IFA-591



ICSBEP-2014, International Criticality Safety Benchmark Experiment Handbook



ZZ EPICS2014, Electron Photon Interaction Cross Sections

An online archive of previous editions is available here.

The monthly bulletin only lists new and updated material. It is distributed by e-mail to registered users of the Nuclear Energy Agency's Online Services. Registration is free; please use this link.