Wishing the NEA community a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
2017 was a very active and impactful year at the NEA. It has brought many milestones, including the accessions of Argentina and Romania to the NEA and its Data Bank, and took substantial steps towards enhancing our relationship with China and India. Also, the NEA signed MOUs with industry organisations EPRI and WANO. The NEA organised many events, conferences and workshops corresponding to the needs of member countries in the application and exploration of nuclear science and technology, including the Workshop on Stakeholder Involvement in Nuclear Decision Making. Watch our year-in-review video to see highlights and key moments of 2017. The NEA sincerely thanks all of you for being part of the NEA family. Watch our video here.
Strengthening collaboration between JAEA and NEA
On 12 December 2017, Mr Koichi Noda, Executive Director responsible for post-Fukushima Daiichi activities at Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), visited the NEA and met with Mr Masahiko Fujihara, NEA Deputy Director‑General for Legal Affairs and Strategic Resources, to discuss ongoing activities in Japan and NEA support to Japan's Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning strategy. Discussions addressed a wide range of associated issues, including updates on the establishment and planned construction of JAEA's international joint research facilities located near the Fukushima Daiichi site, ongoing collaboration between the JAEA and the NEA on international joint research projects and the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework. Both parties underlined the importance of strengthening collaboration to address the unprecedented challenges related to Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning activities. The NEA has a number of current and proposed post-Fukushima activities and joint projects in the areas of accident analysis, fuel debris characterisation and radioactive waste management.
Nuclear regulatory activities
On 4-5 December 2017, the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) held its biannual meeting, during which each CNRA working group presented updates on their programme of work and ongoing activities. Among the decisions taken, the committee approved the establishment of a permanent Working Group on the Safety of Advanced Reactors (WGSAR) based on the work of the Ad hoc Group on the Safety of Advanced Reactors (GSAR). Participants also approved the creation of a regulatory forum for boiling water reactors (BWRs) to assist regulators in addressing technical and regulatory issues specific to BWRs. Additionally, they agreed to organise a workshop on supply chain quality issues.
The meeting also featured a special topic discussion on "Leadership and Safety Culture Issues within the Operator". This special session allowed participants to share lessons learnt and to discuss leadership and safety culture observations and insights from the point of view of regulators and nuclear operators. Participants shared the consensus that leadership sets the stage for safety and directly influences the safety culture of an organisation. The expectation is that leaders should communicate clearly and openly and engage the workforce in identifying issues and finding solutions. However, oversight of leadership and safety culture presents a challenge for regulatory authorities, as the roles, responsibilities and boundaries of the regulators are not always easily defined in this area. In this regard, the recently formed NEA Working Group on Safety Culture (WGSC) will be examining the existing boundaries for regulators in terms of the adequacy of leadership. It will also explore approaches, outside of performance-based enforcement actions, that can be taken in order to encourage a healthy safety culture, as well as to encourage leadership support of safety within the organisation.
Safety of nuclear installations
The NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) held its biannual meeting on 6‑7 December 2017. In the context of its programme of work, the committee approved new tasks and reports, including a report on metallic component margins under high seismic loads. A particular highlight of the meeting was the proposal for a joint research project on corium spreading and corium-concrete interaction. The committee agreed to pursue the project and decided to convene an experts' meeting to discuss the project scope and arrangements in more detail. Participants also reviewed and approved a mandate for a new senior expert group that will assess the status of key facilities required to support nuclear safety research, and make recommendations on actions that should be taken to preserve their availability.
Preservation of radioactive waste records, knowledge and memory
On 5-6 December 2017, the NEA Crystalline Club held its first meeting in Prague, Czech Republic. Building on the successes of the NEA Clay Club and Salt Club, the Crystalline Club was established in 2017. It aims to promote scientific studies on crystalline rocks for hosting deep geological repositories for long-lived radioactive waste, through joint undertakings of common interests of the participating countries. During the first meeting, participants discussed the group's mandate, programme of work for 2018 and mode of operation, as well as the current status of national programmes relevant to crystalline rocks. Following the meeting, they visited the SURAO Bukov Underground Research Facility to assess the scientific features of crystalline rocks presently being investigated. The next meeting of the Crystalline Club will be held on 13-14 June 2018 in Mizunami, Japan.
Updated table on nuclear operators' third party liability amounts and financial security limits
The NEA has recently updated its Table on Nuclear Operators' Third Party Liability Amounts and Financial Security Limits. The table attempts to provide information on the applicable nuclear liability amounts and related financial security obligations imposed on nuclear operators in a wide range of countries, including non‑OECD or non‑NEA countries, in case of a nuclear incident in a nuclear installation. The table, which is not official but rather for information purposes, can be downloaded at oe.cd/2b6.
An online archive of previous editions is available here.
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