Nuclear skills and education in NEA member countries
On 4 November 2016, the NEA Steering Committee held a policy debate on nuclear skills and education in NEA member countries, an increasingly important challenge concerning not only countries that rely on nuclear power, but also newcomer countries and those countries that have decided to phase out its use. Speakers included Dr F. Rayment of the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Prof. P. Wilson of the University of Wisconsin‑Madison, Mr A. Kordas of the Polish Ministry of Energy, Mr J. Schmid of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) and Dr S. Oh of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) International Nuclear Graduate School. Participants in the debate noted that there has been a long-standing trend in many countries where the increasing age of experts in the nuclear field and the closure of experimental facilities are eroding the nuclear skills base and the infrastructure needed to renew these capabilities. They acknowledged that a partnership approach that includes government, industry, academia and training providers can contribute significantly to addressing the skills challenge by ensuring better co-ordination, attractiveness of education programmes and the funding of such programmes. The potential benefits of a co-ordinated international response to help maintain nuclear skills and education was also highlighted.
Ensuring food safety in a post-accident situation
On 8-10 November 2016, the NEA held an international workshop on "Post‑accident Food Safety Science" in Fukushima, Japan. Hosted by the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan, the workshop brought together 137 participants, including experts and scientists from ten countries and local residents, to discuss the state of the art in post‑accident food safety science; the local, national and international management of post‑accident food safety; and approaches for addressing associated challenges. The workshop started with two sessions describing the current state of food and agriculture in Japan and the extensive work done in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident by farmers, distributors, prefectures and the central government to ensure that marketed products meet rigorous national standards. The final two sessions addressed the international standards, decontamination and measurement science, as well as the post‑Chernobyl food management experience of Belarus, Norway and the United Kingdom. The workshop, which also featured a technical site visit to several food monitoring facilities, concluded that food management efforts of Japan were excellent and represented a good technical example for other countries. Workshop recordings and presentations are available at oe.cd/1xh
Euratom signs extension of the GIF Framework Agreement
On 10 November 2016, Commissioner T. Navracsics signed on behalf of Euratom the agreement to extend for another ten years the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems. The signing ceremony was held in Brussels, Belgium, in the presence of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) Director-General Mr V. Sucha, the Head of the JRC Euratom Coordination Unit Mr S. Abousahl and NEA representatives. The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) is a co‑operative international endeavour which was established to carry out the research and development needed to establish the feasibility and performance capabilities of the next generation of nuclear energy systems. The extension of the GIF Framework Agreement, which has now been signed by all signatories of the agreement, enables continued collaboration among participating countries in this important area of Gen IV R&D.
Japan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman visits the NEA
On 25 November 2016, Dr Yoshiaki Oka, Chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) met with the NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, and staff to discuss nuclear energyrelated activities in Japan and internationally. The discussions addressed a wide range of issues, including the nuclear fuel cycle, the economics of nuclear energy and the knowledge‑base for policy development. The JAEC recently launched an initiative to increase public understanding of nuclear energy and published its view on the importance of fostering a common understanding based on scientific and objective facts. The NEA wishes to thank Chairman Oka for the visit, which enabled detailed exchanges of information and ideas.
NEA Director-General meets with key institutions in Japan and at FNCA Ministerial
From 28 November to 2 December 2016, NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV was in Japan for a series of meetings with various ministries and institutions, including the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation (NDF), the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), the Japan Nuclear Safety Institute (JANSI) and the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST). On 30 November, he delivered a keynote address on “Stakeholder Engagement in Nuclear Decisions” on the opening day of the 17th FNCA Ministerial Level Meeting. On 1 December, Mr Magwood gave a lecture and held discussions with students at Waseda University on nuclear energy technology issues and the work of the NEA. He also visited the National Institute of Technology at Fukushima College.
MOU to enhance co‑operation between the NEA and KORAD
On 6 December 2016, the NEA and the Korea Radioactive Waste Agency (KORAD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Area of Management of Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel, fostering co‑operation between both parties. A signing ceremony was held in the presence of Dr Jong‑In Lee, KORAD President and Chief Executive Officer, and Mr William D. Magwood, IV, NEA Director‑General. The MOU specifically aims to facilitate and support co‑operation within the framework of the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) activities.
Benchmark calculations of metallic component margins under high seismic loads
The NEA Working Group on Integrity and Ageing of Components and Structures (WGIAGE) organised an international workshop on the results of the Benchmark of Metallic Component Margins under High Seismic Loads (MECOS) on 29-30 November 2016. During the workshop, participants discussed and compared the results of their benchmark calculations based on the seismic tests for the fatigue failures of the pressurised piping system at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in India. The objective of the benchmark work is to quantify the margins in seismic analyses of safety-classified components of nuclear power plants for high seismic loads, and to show that the existing design practices, standards and regulations have sufficient safety margins to withstand extreme earthquakes.
Post-Fukushima developments in fuel cycle facilities
On 15-17 November 2016, the NEA Working Group on Fuel Cycle Safety (WGFCS) held an international workshop in Aomori, Japan, on Developments in Fuel Cycle Facilities after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident. During the three-day workshop, participants reviewed and discussed national activities, plans and regulatory approaches by member countries in light of the lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station accident, in terms of new safety requirements and operational issues of fuel cycle facilities. Workshop participants acknowledged the importance of a graded approach in ensuring safety with the application of the defence-in-depth principle to various fuel cycle facilities, and recognised the Fuel Incident Notification and Analysis System (FINAS) as an important tool in this regard. They also noted that industrial risks and chemical hazards should be screened and included in the safety assessments and preparations of the fuel cycle facilities.
VVER reactor designs
On 22-24 November 2016, the MDEP VVER Working Group (VVERWG) held a meeting in Beijing, China, with representatives from all the national regulatory authorities participating in the VVERWG (China, Finland, Hungary, India, Russia and Turkey). During the meeting, participants discussed the status of VVER projects in member countries and the activities of the VVERWG technical expert subgroups. They also reviewed the drafts of the Fukushima Common Position paper, a technical report on severe accidents and a technical report on reactor pressure vessel and primary components. Participants agreed to finalise the Fukushima Common Position paper by the end of year and the two technical reports by April 2017. They also reviewed the VVERWG Programme Plan and discussed commissioning activities and differences in VVER designs. After the meeting, participating group members took part in a technical visit to the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1, which is under operation, and Unit 3, which is under commissioning (both VVER-1000 designs). The visit allowed the participants to discuss nuclear safety and commissioning oversight issues with representatives of the operating organisation.
Data management for radioactive waste disposal
On 2-3 November 2016, the NEA Radioactive Waste Repository Metadata Management (RepMet) initiative held a meeting in Madrid, Spain, hosted by ENRESA, the Spanish radioactive waste management organisation participating in RepMet. The RepMet initiative is currently investigating the use of metadata, a fundamental tool for modern data management, to support national programmes for radioactive waste repositories. At this meeting, participating members presented a new version of the data under development and metadata library for the waste package ready for disposal. They also discussed a new geoscience metadata library on site characterisation processes. After the meeting, the participants visited the El Cabril repository in Córdoba, an ENRESA facility for near‑surface disposal of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste. The following week, RepMet activities were presented by NEA staff at the third International Conference on Nuclear Knowledge Management, organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in co-operation with the NEA.
NEA participates in the International Nuclear Law Association Congress in India
From 7 to 11 November 2016, the NEA participated in the 22nd Nuclear Inter Jura Congress, "The Future of Nuclear Law: Addressing Societal, Environmental and Business Expectations", which took place in New Delhi, India. Organised by the Nuclear Law Association (NLA), India, the congress brought together more than 200 experts and practitioners from over 30 countries to discuss contemporary issues in nuclear law, including safety and security questions, safeguards, liability and financing. Participants included representatives from both the private and public sectors, as well as from international organisations. As part of the conference programme, the NEA provided presentations on the international nuclear liability instruments, the role of nuclear energy in combating climate change, nuclear safety culture and low-dose radiation.
Legal aspects of deep geological repositories
On 14-15 November 2016, the NEA held the first Workshop on Deep Geological Repositories and Nuclear Liability, which aimed to facilitate exchanges of information, experience, approaches and concerns with regard to the application of nuclear liability regimes to deep geological repositories. Organised as a joint initiative of the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC), the NEA Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) and the NEA Nuclear Law Committee (NLC), the workshop addressed a wide variety of topics, including the concept of "nuclear installation", the identification of the operator in the long term, the keeping of institutional memory and the challenges of ensuring insurance coverage.
Nuclear law working parties established
The NEA Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) met on 16-17 November 2016, bringing together 65 experts from member countries and international organisations, as well as several representatives from non‑member countries, including China, India, Romania and the United Arab Emirates. Participants at the meeting exchanged information on the latest national developments in nuclear law and discussed current activities conducted under NLC auspices on nuclear liability, legal aspects of nuclear safety and public participation. They also approved the establishment of three new working parties: the Working Party on Deep Geologic Repositories and Nuclear Liability, the Working Party on Nuclear Liability and Transport and the Working Party on the Legal Aspects of Nuclear Safety.
Nuclear data processing and use in nuclear applications
In continuing its efforts to highlight the importance of maintaining skills and capabilities in nuclear technology and science, the NEA participated in the 7FP GENTLE intersemester course on nuclear data processing and use in nuclear applications, which took place from 14 to 18 November 2016 in Geel, Belgium, and was attended by nearly 30 Master and PhD students, post-docs and young researchers, primarily from European research institutes and universities. Organised by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (EC-JRC Geel), the SCK•CEN Academy for Nuclear Science and Technology (SCK•CEN), the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the NEA, the main objective of this course was to explain how to process nuclear data libraries and prepare them for use in nuclear applications. As part of the course programme, NEA experts and scientists delivered interactive lectures and training sessions on NEA nuclear data tools and software, including JANIS, DICE, IDAT, NDaST and NDEC, as well as a general overview of nuclear data activities at the NEA.
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.