Stakeholder involvement in public communication by nuclear regulatory organisations
On 1 April 2015, the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA), in collaboration with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), held a second workshop on public communication by nuclear regulatory organisations (NROs). Some 45 participants from 11 countries attended the workshop in Rockville, Maryland (USA), which was held under the auspices of the NEA Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC). Participants included a wide range of North American stakeholders, including the media, communication experts, government officials, NGOs and industry representatives. Opening remarks were provided by the NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, and Stephen G. Burns, Chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The aim of the workshop was to improve NRO communication by better understanding stakeholders' perceptions, needs and expectations, and to discuss the constraints of traditional and social media in NRO communication strategies. Following the first workshop in Paris gathering European stakeholders and this second one in North America, the group aims to organise a third workshop in Asia in 2016 in order to obtain stakeholder views from the three continents. A report on the workshops' findings is to be issued after the completion of all three workshops.
Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP) updates
MDEP Steering Technical Committee (STC) held its 25th meeting on 18‑19 February 2015 in the United Arab Emirates, at the headquarters of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), one of the most recent associate members of the MDEP. The group heard a presentation about the ambitious schedule the FANR had to meet in order to build the country's nuclear regulation, and the efficiency with which the work was carried out. Participants also shared views on how the MDEP working groups are fulfilling their programme plans, potential new topics and the future of the Programme, in addition to considering MDEP stakeholders' messages. The STC also approved MDEP common positions and technical reports for publication, which are available on the NEA website, including a design‑specific common position on the EPR containment heat removal system in accident conditions and a technical report on the essential performance guidelines for the design and construction of pressure boundary components, from the Codes and Standards Working Group (CSWG).
NEA co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The NEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held their annual co‑ordination meeting on 18 March 2015 to continue their co‑operation efforts to minimise overlap and avoid duplication by the two agencies. Discussions included co‑ordination on ensuring cross‑participation in relevant committees and working groups. Participants also discussed organising certain activities, meetings and conferences jointly in appropriate areas, including nuclear safety, nuclear development and nuclear science.
Human and organisational factors within the nuclear industry
NEA Working Group on Human and Organisational Factors (WGHOF) held its bi‑annual meeting. Over 20 participants representing 12 countries and two international organisations met to advance the WGHOF's ongoing activities, to plan new activities and to discuss HOF‑related issues and developments. Of particular note were the discussions to finalise a report on a workshop on Human Performance under Extreme Conditions with Respect to a Resilient Organisation. This workshop was held in order to look into one of the concerns following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident – namely what should be done to support effective human and organisation performance in severe events. The main conclusion was that nuclear power plant operators should look into improving resilience, which is the capacity to respond to the unexpected. The workshop report, which summarises the discussions and identifies good practices and research needs, is expected to be issued in mid‑2015.
Nuclear decommissioning – remediation of nuclear installations
On 23-25 March 2015, the NEA Task Group on Nuclear Site Restoration held its third meeting on the preparation of its report on strategic considerations for sustainable nuclear site remediation. The report will explain how environmental and radiological principles are translated into national policies and rules for remediation, and propose a framework for sustainable decision making and recommendations to enhance the strategic approach to remediation planning. Remediation is a risk management activity that is informed by risk assessment. The group will recommend that risk management decision making be as flexible as possible to ensure that remediation decisions are sustainable. The report is expected to be issued at the end of 2015.
Uncertainties in cost estimations for decommissioning
On 10‑11 March 2015, the NEA Expert Group on Uncertainties of the Decommissioning Cost Estimation Group (DCEG‑EGU Working Group 1) convened its second meeting to advance its work on a report on uncertainties in decommissioning cost estimation and recommendations on how uncertainties may be addressed in cost estimates, so as to enhance the credibility, reliability and auditability of the cost estimation process. The specific responsibility of Working Group 1 is to develop the parts of the report dealing with in-scope uncertainties and a number of overarching aspects, such as the outline and structure of the report, terminologies and supplementing documents. A second working group, operating under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), focuses on "out‑of‑scope" uncertainties (e.g. regulatory changes, availability of disposal routes). During the meeting, the participants focused on further exploring and defining key terms and developing the description of the elements of uncertainty for decommissioning cost estimation. The suggestions include developing two main scenarios, one for a cost estimate without a well‑defined project (i.e. a decommissioning cost estimate at the start of or during reactor operation) and one for an actual project. A preliminary draft of the report will be presented to the NEA Decommissioning Cost Estimation Group (DCEG) at its next meeting on 16‑17 June 2015.
Successful fourth session of the International Nuclear Law Essentials
The fourth session of the NEA International Nuclear Law Essentials (INLE) was held on 16‑20 March 2015 at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris, France. The INLE is an intensive, one‑week programme that offers participants from both the public and private sectors an in‑depth look at nuclear energy from an international law perspective. This year's INLE programme brought together a diverse international group of professionals from 16 NEA member and non‑member countries and four continents to learn more about the international nuclear law framework as well as the major issues affecting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A total of 23 lecturers from the NEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), regulatory authorities, the private sector, industry and academia, among others, presented a series of master lectures on topics related to nuclear safety, security, non‑proliferation and liability. NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, and Stephen G. Burns, Chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), were both among the lecturers who spoke during the week. The fifth session of the INLE will be held in 2016.
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