NEA Director‑General makes first visit to Hungary
On 5-6 March 2018, NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, undertook his first official visit to Hungary for meetings with the Ministry of National Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA), the Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management (PURAM), the Hungarian Nuclear Society and the Hungarian Young Generation Network (FINE). Central to his visit were discussions with the Minister responsible for the Paks expansion project János Süli (pictured on the left), Minister of State for Security and International Co‑operation István Mikola, and State Secretary for Energy Affairs András Aradszki. While in Hungary, the Director‑General visited the Paks Nuclear Power Plant and various other nuclear facilities, including the CERES (Cooling Effectiveness on Reactor External Surface) facility, Budapest Research Reactor, PURAM Spent Fuel Interim Storage Facility, the National Radioactive Waste Repository (NRWR) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Energy Research. On 6 March, he delivered the lecture "Addressing Global Nuclear Challenges in an Era of Change" to students and staff at the Institute of Nuclear Techniques (NTI) of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). The Director‑General's visit to Hungary proved to be an excellent opportunity to exchange views on nuclear energy issues, education and research, as well as on how to continue strengthening the NEA's engagement with Hungarian entities.
NEA high-level visit to China
From 25 February to 1 March, NEA Director‑General Magwood led a high-level visit to China. Bilateral meetings were held with the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), the National Energy Administration (C/NEA) and the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). Technical visits were made to the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant and the Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant, where China is building the first Hualong One nuclear power reactor. The NEA delegation also visited some of the country's leading research centres, including the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP), which is leading China's development and demonstration of molten salt reactor technology; the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute (SNERDI) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). On 28 February, Director‑General Magwood delivered a lecture on NEA work and activities to nuclear science and engineering students at Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU). The visit, which was very informative and constructive, exemplified the valuable exchange of information and ideas from which China and the NEA can both benefit. Highlighting the growing relationship between the NEA and China, the Agency will welcome in March a Chinese radioactive waste expert on secondment to work at the NEA in Paris for the next two years. She will be the first Chinese expert to join the NEA's main secretariat staff.
Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) visits the NEA
On 15 February 2018, Mr Toshio Kodama, President of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), and Ms Sonoko Watanebe, JAEA Executive Director in charge of R&D Programme Management and International Affairs, met with Director‑General Magwood and staff to discuss further co‑operation in a number of areas, including nuclear research and education. Discussions addressed a wide range of NEA activities, including the NEA International Mentoring Workshop Series in Science and Engineering and the NEA Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) initiative. The visit was followed by the JAEA workshop organised with the objective of strengthening co-operation between France and Japan in the field of nuclear decommissioning and nuclear safety research. During the workshop, Director‑General Magwood addressed the importance of multilateral co‑operation in meeting the challenges in nuclear power generation.
Dr Hélène Langevin-Joliot, a distinguished nuclear physicist, was interviewed by the NEA on her career, family heritage and the role of women in science and technology. Dr Langevin‑Joliot comes from an exceptional family of scientists. Her parents Irène and Frédéric Joliot‑Curie won a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity, and she is the granddaughter of Marie Skłodowska‑Curie and Pierre Curie, who together with Henri Becquerel won a Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 for their pioneering research on radioactivity.
The interview, first shown at the opening of the NEA International Mentoring Workshop in Japan in July 2017, is available at youtu.be/_AOQ8os3Pr0
First NEA International Nuclear Law Essentials course held in Asia
The seventh session of the NEA International Nuclear Law Essentials (INLE) course was held from 26 February to 2 March 2018 in Singapore, in co‑operation with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and its Centre for International Law. A diverse international group of professionals from 15 NEA member and non-member countries participated in the programme, obtaining an overview of the international nuclear law framework, as well as other major issues affecting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Instructors from the NEA, the IAEA, NUS, nuclear regulatory authorities and the private sector gave lectures on topics related to nuclear safety, security, non-proliferation and liability. NEA Director‑General Magwood and Commissioner Stephen G. Burns of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) were among the lecturers who spoke during the week. The course programme also featured keynote presentations by Dr Chen Gang, General Legal Counsel and Senior Engineer at China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, Ltd., and Professor Aishah Bidin of the National University of Malaysia, who presented their respective perspectives on nuclear law in China and Malaysia. Read more about the INLE at oe.cd/INLE.
The NEA International School of Nuclear Law (ISNL) is a two-week course designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the various legal issues relating to the safe, efficient and secure use of nuclear energy. To date, the ISNL has provided a unique educational opportunity to nearly 1000 graduate students and young professionals worldwide. The next session of the ISNL will take place from 27 August to 7 September 2018 in Montpellier, France. Applications may be submitted online up until 31 March 2018. For more information on the course and to apply, see: oe.cd/ISNL.
We are very pleased to announce the first NEA International Radiological Protection School (IRPS), which will take place from 20 to 24 August 2018 at the Stockholm University in Sweden. This five-day training aims at providing mid-career radiological protection (RP) experts with an understanding of the "spirit" of the RP system. Renowned experts will present the nuances, history and between-the-lines meanings of international guidance and working experience, that will allow tomorrow's radiological protection leaders to appropriately apply the RP system to address current and future radiological circumstances. For more information on the course and to apply, see: oe.cd/nea-irps.
The NEA is a proud co-sponsor of the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC) 2018 conference, which is organised jointly with the 26th WiN Global Annual Conference on 11‑17 March 2018 in Bariloche, Argentina. The conference aims to provide a global forum for young professionals and women in the nuclear field to discuss and to collaborate on knowledge transfer, nuclear science and technology research and implementation, professional development and communication. Find out more at www.iync.org/iync2018‑bariloche‑argentina.
Discussions on nuclear development
On 14-15 February 2018, the NEA Nuclear Development Committee (NDC) held its annual meeting to review progress in its ongoing work, including studies on the adequacy of funding arrangements for decommissioning and spent-fuel management, the integration of nuclear and renewables, and advanced reactor design in the face of rapidly evolving energy markets. Participants discussed future work on cost reduction for nuclear power generation, the long-term operation of nuclear power plants, and the joint NEA/International Energy Agency (IEA) study on the projected costs of electricity generation, endorsing the participation of Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) experts in these three projects. The meeting also featured a presentation by Canada, Japan and the United States on their proposed new initiative Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy (NICE) Future, which they plan to launch at the upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting in Copenhagen on 24 May 2018. This initiative will benefit from many of the studies currently carried out by the NDC. There will also be a dedicated CEM side event on the role that advanced nuclear energy and nuclear innovations can play in clean energy systems of the future, with participation expected from Ministers and other high-level representatives.
Generation IV research and development
On 19 February 2018, the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) held the first meeting of its new task force on research infrastructures. Maintaining existing facilities operational is a growing challenge of among GIF members. This task force was established to identify the key R&D experimental facilities needed for the development, demonstration and qualification of generation IV systems. It also aims to promote a better utilisation of the existing facilities for collaborative R&D activities. In this meeting, presentations were made by the representatives of the six generation IV systems, highlighting the existing experimental capabilities and identified gaps. The meeting also featured presentations on the NEA Research and Test Facilities Database (RTFDB) and the relaunch of the Senior Expert Group on Safety Research Opportunities Post-Fukushima (SAREF) activity on assessing needs for research capabilities and infrastructures.
Preservation of radioactive waste records, knowledge and memory
A unique international platform for reflecting on the conservation of information over millennia, the NEA initiative on the Preservation of Records, Knowledge, and Memory (RK&M) across Generations held its final meeting on 27 February-1 March 2018. In this meeting, the expert group evaluated the progress made on its final report, which summarises all project outcomes, illustrates key knowledge management concepts, and describes how RK&M preservation methods and processes are developed. Participants also discussed the concept report on the Set of Essential Records (SER), which is a method for selecting records deemed essential for the transmission of knowledge about a waste repository.
Radioactive waste inventorying and reporting methodology
On 28 February-1 March 2018, the NEA Expert Group on Waste Inventorying and Reporting Methodology (EGIRM) held an international workshop on the "Implementation of the EGIRM Methodology for Presenting National Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management Programmes". The workshop was attended by nearly 50 participants representing 19 member countries, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Commission (EC) and the World Nuclear Association (WNA). The EGIRM methodology was set out in two volumes published in 2016 and 2017 that describe a common format for presenting national radioactive waste and spent fuel inventories. During the workshop, participants received a detailed description of the methodology and information on its application. They had extended discussions on the step-by-step process to populate the presentation table, specific cases and the advantages of the proposed method. At the end of the workshop, participants were invited to carry out practical exercises and to discuss their observations on the methodology with the NEA. For more information and details on the workshop, please see oe.cd/EGIRM-Workshop-2018.
Significant experience has been obtained in both preparing and reviewing safety cases for the operational and long‑term safety of deep geological repositories (DGRs). Some countries are approaching the industrial implementation of a geological disposal and are, therefore, increasingly focused on the feasibility of constructing and operating a repository that is safe and secure in the short and long terms. New insights are also available concerning the basis for regulations and the challenge of communicating highly technical information to a wide range of stakeholders. Since 2007, the NEA Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) has been organising a series of symposia on the development of a competent and robust safety case for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste. The purpose of the 2018 symposium is to discuss and document achievements made since 2013, to share good practices and to consider future direction. The event will take place on 10‑11 October 2018 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. For more information, please see oe.cd/IGSC-2018.
Nuclear liability and insurance
The NEA hosted a meeting of the International Nuclear Law Association (INLA) Working Group on Nuclear Liability and Insurance on 12 February 2018. The meeting was attended by 31 experts representing the public and private sectors, as well as academia. Participants discussed the topics that will be addressed at the 2018 INLA Congress. Other key highlights of the meeting included discussions on the outcomes of the Third International Workshop on the Indemnification of Damage in the Event of a Nuclear Accident, organised by the NEA in co-operation with the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic.
Scientific issues of nuclear reactor systems
On 19-22 February 2018, the NEA Working Party on Scientific Issues of Reactor Systems (WPRS) held its annual meeting and associated expert group meetings with over 50 experts from 15 countries. The WPRS conducts studies on the reactor physics of advanced nuclear systems, reactor fuel performance, radiation transport and shielding, and uncertainty analysis in the modelling of power systems, focusing on light water reactor (LWR) transients. At this meeting, participating experts reported on and discussed ongoing activities and the status of the integral experiment handbook and databases maintained by the WPRS, including the International Reactor Physics Experiment Evaluation (IRPhE) Project, the International Fuel Performance Experiments database (IFPE) and the Shielding Integral Benchmark Archive and Database (SINBAD).
Nuclear multi-physics data, benchmarks and validation
The NEA Expert Group on Multi-physics Experimental data, Benchmarks and Validation (EGMPEBV) met on 19‑20 February 2018 to review the progress being made by the group's existing three task forces. The participants reviewed the forthcoming Task Force‑2 report on "Existing Practices for Multi‑Physics Validation". Many of the participating experts also took part in a joint session held with the WPRS Expert Group on Reactor Fuel Performance (EGRFP) and Expert Group on Uncertainty Analysis in Modelling (EGUAM) in order to identify areas of potential collaboration, given the relevant complementary expertise within each expert group. This special session provided an opportunity to discuss areas of joint interest, including reports, benchmarking activities and experimental databases. A key highlight of the discussions was the interweaving connections between fuel performance modelling needs, uncertainty propagation within the models and improved experimental techniques to measure the most sensitive physical parameters.
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.