Regulatory oversight of organisational capability
On 20-22 March 2017, the NEA held a workshop on Regulatory Oversight of New Licensee Organisational Capability in Chester, United Kingdom, jointly organised by the NEA Working Group on the Regulation of New Reactors (WGRNR) and the NEA Working Group on Human and Organisational Factors (WGHOF), in collaboration with the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The workshop attracted more than 40 participants from 15 countries, representing a wide range of experts in licensing of new build reactors and in human and organisational factors. It addressed cross-cutting issues that arise when a prospective nuclear licensee develops its organisational capability and a regulatory body prepares itself for and delivers the regulatory oversight of a prospective licensee's organisational capability. The programme featured three breakout sessions on challenges in developing organisational capability, regulatory challenges with new licensees and oversight of contractors and suppliers by new licensees. The workshop provided an opportunity for the participating experts to share their regulatory approaches and experiences, to exchange views on resolving the challenges faced by prospective licensees and nuclear regulatory bodies, and to identify commendable practices in regulatory oversight of new licensee organisational capability.
Building a scientific community around material test reactors
On 22 March 2017, the NEA welcomed experts from the Foundation for Future International Jules Horowitz Experimental Programs (FIJHOP) to discuss preparations for the initial experiments that will take place at the Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR), and how the NEA can build a framework to facilitate co-operation between material test reactors (MTRs) and the scientific community. The seminar highlighted the unique experimental capacity of the JHR, allowing scientists to address industry relevant questions involving the behaviour of irradiated fuels and materials under wide-ranging conditions. Connecting this experimental capacity to relevant NEA activities, including the NEA Working Party on Multi-scale Modelling of Fuels and Structural Materials for Nuclear Systems (WPMM), the NEA Expert Group on Accident-tolerant Fuels for LWRs (EGATFL), the NEA Working Group on Fuel Safety (WGFS) and the Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) Initiative, was determined to be a key component to fulfil FIJHOP's objectives. In follow-up to the seminar, the NEA will organise an international workshop devoted to establishing a systematic qualification process for improving turnaround time between the development of innovative fuels and materials tested at MTRs and their licensing and deployment for commercial applications.
Enhancing safety and performance through nuclear fuel modelling
On 7-9 March 2017, the NEA organised a workshop on advanced nuclear fuel modelling for safety and performance enhancement of water-cooled reactors. The event brought together 80 participants from 18 member countries, representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders including academic and R&D institutions, the industry, technical support organisations (TSOs), regulatory bodies and international organisations. The workshop featured technical sessions on developments seen from the perspectives of modellers, utilities, fuel vendors and safety bodies, as well as on modelling in support of improvements during normal and off-normal operating conditions. Participants concluded that fuel modelling is now addressing issues that would not have been previously undertaken and is providing new insights. Advanced modelling is being used in the fuel design process, and its application to support licensing is being explored. The NEA Working Group on Fuel Safety (WGFS) will continue discussions on this issue in order to identify further areas where advanced techniques for fuel modelling could be utilised.
MDEP EPR regulators and licensees welcomed by NNSA and TNPJVC to witness a First Plant Only Test at Taishan
Within the framework of the MDEP EPR Commissioning Activities Technical Expert Subgroup, representatives from the regulatory authorities of Finland (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority - STUK), France (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire - ASN) and the United Kingdom (Office for Nuclear Regulation - ONR) witnessed part of the Chinese EPR Taishan Unit 1 reactor pressure vessel internals vibration First Plant Only Tests (FPOT) from 27 to 31 March 2017. The Chinese regulatory authority, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), shared its inspection process and results with its counterparts in a very open manner. The aim of the FPOT concept is to enable licensees wishing to credit a test conducted during the commissioning of the first unit of a design to characterise the performance and behaviour of a system or component on follow-on units constructed in another country. One of the preconditions set by the MDEP for crediting FPOT is for regulator and licensee to be provided with possibility to witness the FPOT. In this regard, the Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co., Ltd kindly welcomed EDF and NNB GenCo to witness the FPOT alongside the regulators. Whilst planning to also perform the test at Olkiluoto 3, TVO attended the event as well. Based on their observations, the regulators did not identify any fundamental reasons for not crediting TSN1 FPOT results at this stage.
Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) – A roadmap to a low-carbon energy future
The NEA launched its Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) Initiative with the aim of identifying research and development (R&D) strategies and associated priorities to achieve commercial readiness of innovative, sustainable nuclear fission technologies in a fast and cost-effective way. As defined at the beginning of the process, these R&D strategies would be elaborated with NEA stakeholders at large, in particular involving nearly all NEA committees, nuclear research organisations, industry, regulators and technical safety organisations. The NI2050 Initiative has evolved over the last year to become an NEA incubator for the selection and development of a number of large nuclear fission R&D programmes (and infrastructures) that can support the role of nuclear energy in a low-carbon future, mainly by accelerating innovation and the market deployment of technologies. An article in the latest issue of NEA News provides a brief overview and the next steps of the initiative, which has reached the stage where more concrete outcomes might now be expected, in particular in terms of programmes of action to be proposed for co-operative implementation. Read the article here: oe.cd/NEA-34-2.
Impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident on Nuclear Development Policies
The Fukushima Daiichi accident was an event that had a global impact on the nuclear energy industry. Regulators and operators around the world responded to the accident by implementing safety improvements and corrective actions based on lessons learnt from the accident. As for deployment decisions in the six years since March 2011, the accident appears to be only one of many large drivers, such as market factors and natural resource constraints, impacting policy. Find out more in the NEA report on Impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident on Nuclear Development Policies at oe.cd/1Sr.
Efficient and safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
The International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) brings together 34 participant countries, 31 observer countries and four observer organisations, according to its Statement of Mission, "to explore mutually beneficial approaches to ensure the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes proceeds in a manner that is efficient and meets the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation". IFNEC has grown in size over its six years of existence, welcoming new countries and international organisations and expanding the depth and breadth of its work in order to accommodate its diverse membership. The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is the most recent observer organisation to join IFNEC, having been officially recognised as a member in October 2014. The NEA became the Technical Secretariat to IFNEC in 2015, funded solely by voluntary contributions. Read more in the latest issue of the NEA News at oe.cd/NEA-34-2.
Regulating radioactive waste management and decommissioning
On 29-31 March 2017, the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) and the NEA Regulators' Forum (RF) held their respective annual meetings. Participants in both meetings exchanged information on recent national developments. They also reviewed current and future activities conducted under RWMC and RF auspices, and recent workshops and conferences. The RWMC discussed the increasing decommissioning needs in many member countries in the near future and confirmed its support of a proposed NEA standing technical committee on decommissioning of nuclear installations. The RF meeting included a topical session on decommissioning regulations, during which participants thoroughly discussed efficient regulations for the management of contaminated material and site releases, as well as the availability of waste storage or disposal solutions. Participating members agreed that more emphasis should be placed on stakeholder involvement, particularly on interaction between regulators and implementers. The RF also discussed a graded approach which allocates regulatory controls based on the risks of an activity.
Developing and implementing geological repositories for long-lived radioactive waste
On 6-9 December 2016, the NEA and the French national radioactive waste management agency Andra held the fifth International Conference on Geological Repositories (ICGR) in Paris, France. The conference, on "Continued Engagement and Safe Implementation of Geological Repositories", convened senior-level decision-makers representing international and national bodies from countries that are in different stages of implementing deep geological repository programmes. Participants underlined the added value of international co-operation for the safe implementation of geological repository projects and concluded that deep geological repositories remain a viable and safe option for the management of radioactive waste. If you missed the conference, or would like to recall the material that was presented and discussed, download the conference synthesis at oe.cd/ICGR2016.
Radiological protection and public health
On 27-29 March 2017, the NEA Committee for Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) held its biannual meeting and discussed its strategic direction. Participants reviewed the projects nearing completion and continuing initiatives, including the NEA Expert Group on Legacy Management (EGLM), the NEA Expert Group on the Implications of ICRP Recommendations (EGIR) and the NEA Ad Hoc Expert Group on the Exclusion of Nuclear Installations Being Decommissioned from the Paris Convention (EGPC). A key highlight of the meeting was the topical session on "Health Protection in Nuclear Emergency and Recovery Management: Doing More Good than Harm", which underlined the need for a decision-making framework that takes radiological and psychological effects into account in order to optimise well-being in emergency and recovery cases. The meeting featured another topical session on strategic human resource management in radiological protection, during which participants identified as key issues the lack of a clear career path in radiological protection and the lack of recognition of professional certifications across borders. They also agreed that a framework to facilitate career mobility internationally should be a focal point for human resource management in the coming years.
Nuclear energy and law
The NEA was a co-sponsoring organisation of the Certificate Course on "Nuclear Energy and Law" which took place on 6-11 March 2017 in New Delhi, India. The course was jointly organised by the Nuclear Law Association, India (NLAIN) and TERI University, and brought together a diverse group of nearly 35 participants from across India, representing a wide range of nuclear fields including law, engineering, insurance, policy, science and research. As part of the certificate course, the NEA provided lectures on the Agency's work and on regulatory structures, functions and objectives, as well as on case studies in best practices in nuclear regulation. The NEA also visited the Indian Law Institute to present lectures to graduate law students on the NEA activities in the areas of nuclear law and international nuclear law.
Nuclear multi-physics data, benchmarks and validation
The NEA Expert Group on Multi-physics Experimental Data, Benchmarks and Validation (EGMPEBV) met on 13-14 March 2017 to review the progress being made by the group's three existing task forces. The participants examined and approved two reports prepared by Task Force 1, concerning different aspects of the current status and expected needs for validation of multi-physics tools. They discussed the forthcoming Task Force 2 report on "Existing Practice and Guidelines for Multi-physics Validation". The agenda also addressed Task Force 3, which is close to completing the specifications for its first multi-physics benchmark exercise, based upon recent plant start-up data from a Russian VVER-type reactor. These documented specifications will be accessible to interested benchmark participants within the coming months. The expert group is also launching an online exercise, "Parameter Assessment and Ranking Chart (PARC)", in order to review expert opinions on the importance of various physics phenomena for pellet-clad interaction (PCI) problem analysis. Those wishing to participate in the exercise can access the survey at egmpebv.typeform.com/to/i4eP9E.
|29-MAR-17||NEA-1899||GRUCON, Data Processing for Evaluated Working libraries (transport and shielding)
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.