Nuclear in a changing world
The NEA participated in Nuclear in a changing world, a conference organised jointly by FORATOM and the Romanian Atomic Forum – ROMATOM on 26 June 2019 in Bucharest, Romania. The goal of the conference was to discuss key challenges affecting the energy sector in Europe, the role of long‑term nuclear power plant operations, and skills and capacity management in the nuclear field. NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV was a keynote speaker in the opening session of the conference. During his speech, Director‑General Magwood discussed the costs of decarbonising electricity systems, the importance of modernising the electricity markets, and the potential for small modular reactor technologies. The NEA was also represented at the conference by Ms Yeonhee Hah, Head of the NEA Division of Radiological Protection and Human Aspects of Nuclear Safety, who participated in the session "How to ensure we have the necessary skills" as a panellist and addressed the importance of decades‑long knowledge management given the long life cycles of nuclear facilities. She also highlighted the NEA activities in the area of skills management, including the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework and the recent workshop on human capital and leadership challenges co‑organised with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).
Women in Nuclear Global Annual Conference
In June, the NEA also participated in the 27th Women in Nuclear Global Annual Conference, which provided a forum for professional women in the nuclear field on 17-21 June 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Ms Yeonhee Hah presented the "NEA Approach: Improving Gender Balance in Nuclear Energy" at the conference session on Women in the Nuclear Field. During her presentation, she highlighted ongoing NEA activities, such as the International Mentoring Workshop Series in Science and Engineering organised with the objective to encourage female high school students to explore careers in science and engineering. In 2019, two more workshops will be held: the first one in Fukushima, Japan, in August and the second one in Vigo, Spain in September. Another workshop is planned for university students and scheduled to take place in Moscow, Russia, in October.
Discussions on nuclear science
The NEA Nuclear Science Committee (NSC) held its biannual meeting on 12‑14 June 2019. At this meeting, NSC Chair John Herczeg and NSC Vice‑Chair Alain Zaetta stepped down after having led the Committee for over decade. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu of the United States and Gilles Bignan of France were elected as the new Chair and Vice‑Chair, respectively. Following presentations on the status of the Committee's programme of work, participants endorsed the creation of a task force to review and prioritise the programme based on the current needs expressed by member countries. Highlights reported at the meeting included the launch of the Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework, and the progress made by the NSC and NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) in establishing a new multi‑national NEA Framework for In‑pile Fuel and Material Irradiation Experiments (FIDES) in response to the closure of the Halden Reactor. The Committee noted the importance of these two projects for the nuclear community, and endorsed the efforts of the NEA Division of Nuclear Science to facilitate these new endeavours. In support of this cross‑cutting approach, the meeting participants acknowledged the recent advances in NSC engagement with other NEA Standing Technical Committees and proposed that the Bureaus of the NSC and the CSNI explore joint sessions at their meetings.
The global response to address climate change is one of the key policy challenges of the 21st century. Many governments around the world have agreed that action should be taken to achieve large cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the coming decades, to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to ensure the necessary financial and technical support for countries to implement the required changes. Several years after COP 21 and the Paris agreement, although nuclear energy remains one of the options in the global toolbox to address climate change, the path towards a low‑carbon energy future is still uncertain. To this end, the NEA and the IAEA are co‑organising the 2019 International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power, scheduled to take place in Vienna from 7 to 11 October 2019. For more information on the conference and its programme, please visit www.iaea.org/atoms4climate.
Nuclear energy's challenges are frequently described as having a significant 'social' dimension. The NEA is organising a workshop to explore how insights from the social sciences and humanities can be used to inform decision making in the nuclear energy field. The event will take place on 12‑13 December 2019 in Paris, France. Selected papers from the workshop will be published in a special issue of the nuclear engineering journal, Nuclear Technology. For registration and abstract submissions, visit oe.cd/nuclear-nexus-2019.
Safety of nuclear installations
The NEA Expert Group on Geological Repositories in Crystalline Rock Formations – Crystalline Club (CRC) held a meeting to discuss the group's final report and hear presentations by Russian experts on the safety case development and R&D for a national deep geological repository. Hosted by the Russian National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RWM) on 25‑26 June 2019 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, the meeting was attended by group members from Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Korea, Romania and Switzerland, representatives of Rosatom and Rostekhnadzor, and an invitee from China. The meeting also included discussions on the management of information concerning the development of underground research laboratories and deep geological repositories. The meeting ended with a site visit to the underground research laboratory near Krasnoyarsk.
IFNEC meetings highlight safety culture and export controls
China's National Energy Administration hosted the meetings of the IFNEC Steering Group, the Infrastructure Development Working Group, and the Nuclear Supplier and Customer Countries Engagement Group held in Beijing on 24‑25 June 2019. Topics discussed at these meetings included best practices in developing safety culture and export controls as an enabler of nuclear co‑operation, with a presentation from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). IFNEC members were invited to join a forum on nuclear energy development and public communication on 26 June, where the IFNEC Chair provided opening remarks. The NEA also gave a presentation at this forum on the challenges and opportunities facing the nuclear sector, and shared the public communication and stakeholder involvement activities organised by the Agency, including an upcoming workshop on risk communication to be held on 24‑26 September 2019.
Latest developments in nuclear law
The NEA Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) met on 27‑28 June 2019 to review the ongoing activities of the NEA Office of Legal Counsel and the NLC working parties on nuclear liability and transport, deep geological repositories and nuclear liability, and the legal aspects of nuclear safety. The meeting was attended by nearly 70 participants representing 25 NEA member countries, four non‑NEA member countries, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Commission (EC) and the insurance industry. Participants discussed the organisation of the Fourth International Workshop on the Indemnification of Damage in the Event of a Nuclear Accident, a forthcoming report on legal frameworks for the long‑term operation of nuclear power reactors, and the implementation of international conventions with regard to public participation in nuclear‑related activities. Reports on the latest national developments in nuclear law were provided by Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Nuclear liability and transport
The NEA Working Party on Nuclear Liability and Transport (WPNLT) met on 26 June 2019 with 38 representatives from 19 member countries, two non‑NEA member countries, the EC, the IAEA, the nuclear insurance industry and the International Nuclear Law Association (INLA). At this meeting, the working party adopted its programme of work for 2019‑2020 and renewed its mandate for the period of 2019‑2022. Participants discussed the preliminary results to an enquiry regarding national legislation and rules applicable to nuclear transport and transit, and agreed to make the potential final deliverables publicly available. A topical session examined through legal, technical and insurance perspectives the challenges relating to the qualification of nuclear substances to be transported. A presentation was provided by the Belgian delegation on the national legal and regulatory developments related to nuclear transport activities, while INLA representatives presented updates on the activities of their working group on nuclear transport. Participants also worked on theoretical case studies.
Legal aspects of nuclear safety
The NEA Working Party on the Legal Aspects of Nuclear Safety held a meeting on 25 June 2019 with participants from 18 NEA member countries, two non‑NEA member countries, and the EC. The meeting featured a presentation by the NEA Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics on the activities of the NEA Ad Hoc Expert Group on Maintaining Low-Carbon Generation Capacity through LTO of Nuclear Power Plants: Economic, Technical and Policy Aspects (EGLTO), as well as a presentation by the EC on the November 2018 opinion by the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice in the case currently pending before the European Court of Justice regarding the lifetime extensions and environmental assessments. Reports on national licensing processes were provided by Finland and the United States, while Spain and Sweden gave presentations on latest national developments related to the legal aspects of nuclear safety. Participants finalised a forthcoming report on the legal framework for the long‑term operation of nuclear power reactors. They also discussed the legal aspects of licensing small modular reactors (SMRs), legal challenges to licensing decisions, and the enforcement of nuclear safety related laws and regulations.
Contracting Parties to the Paris Convention
The Contracting Parties to the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy met on 24 June 2019 to discuss the interpretation and implementation of this Convention and the Brussels Convention Supplementary to the Paris Convention. During this meeting, the Contracting Parties continued preparing for the entry into force of the 2004 Protocols to amend both conventions. The Contracting Parties have not been able to ratify the 2004 Protocol to amend the Paris Convention due to a decision of the Council of the European Union (EU) that requires EU Member States which are Contracting Parties to the Paris Convention (except Denmark and Slovenia) to deposit their instruments of ratification of the Protocol simultaneously (2004/294/EC). The last EU Member State that needs to finalise its national legislative process to be able to ratify the 2004 Protocols is Italy, which has made some progress lately. After its approval by the Council of Ministers on 28 November 2018, a draft bill authorising the ratification of both Protocols has been submitted to the Chamber of Deputies in December 2018 and has been posted on the website of the Chamber of Deputies. The consideration of the bill has been jointly assigned to the Standing Committee of Foreign and European Community Affairs and the Standing Committee of Environment, Territory and Public Works. Since 13 May 2019, both Committees have examined the draft bill in three sessions, the last one taking place on 3 July 2019.
The Fourth International Workshop on the Indemnification of Damage in the Event of a Nuclear Accident will be organised on 8‑9 October 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal, in association with the Instituto Superior Técnico and the University of Lisbon Faculty of Law. This workshop will continue exploring the practical application of the international nuclear liability convention and national legislations in the case of an incident at a nuclear installation. It will address determination of the nuclear damage to be compensated and transboundary claims handling. The participants will examine the associated challenges and discuss options to ensure adequate compensation to victims of a nuclear incident. For more information on the workshop and to register, see www.oecd‑nea.org/law/workshops/lisbon2019. Due to limited capacity, registrations will be processed on a first‑come, first‑served basis.
The NEA Expert Group on Multi‑physics Experimental Data, Benchmarks and Validation (EGMPEBV) organised a series of workshops on multi‑physics, hosted by the GRS in Germany during the week of 24 June 2019. Over 50 experts from the international reactor modelling community participated in these workshops with the objectives of discussing the Rostov Unit 2 benchmark based on VVER 1000 start‑up experiments and the preservation of thermal‑hydraulics experimental data, as well as an educational workshop on Multi‑Physics Model Validation (MPMV‑2) that expanded on a 2017 workshop given at North Carolina State University. The NEA organises multi‑physics workshops in order to address the need for enhanced experimental data that will be used to validate advanced modelling and simulation capabilities offered by multi‑physics codes in active development around the world. The next workshop series will be organised in conjunction with the Best Estimate Plus Uncertainty International Conference (BEPU 2020) conference in Sicily, Italy, on 17‑22 May 2020, hosted by NINE Nuclear and Industrial Engineering. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NEA Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co‑operation (WPEC), its two expert groups and five active sub‑groups held a series of meetings and parallel sessions in June with over 80 participants working on the development of the understanding of basic nuclear physics that underpins all nuclear technology. The sessions covered a wide range of topics, including new experimental campaigns, updates to the NEA High Priority Request List that prioritises measurements around the world, the first‑ever release of a Generalised Nuclear Data specification (replacing the punch-card era ENDF‑6 format) and many initiatives making use of the new NEA GitLab system to collaborate on technical work. Participants reviewed three forthcoming reports on the CIELO project, the development of new methods and libraries of thermal scattering kernels and processing methods for uncertainties in the cross section resolved resonance range. Two new sub‑groups were launched, including the continuation of the highly successful sub‑group on thermal scattering, and a sub‑group that will focus on reproducibility and traceability of nuclear data evaluations that will establish a new standard in QA for nuclear data production.
The NEA Data Bank organised a workshop in June on the FISPACT‑II v4.0 code, which is an enhanced multi‑physics platform for the simulation of observables for nuclear sciences and technology. FISPACT has applications in magnetic and inertial confinement fusion, advanced fission reactors, advanced energy and fuel systems, high energy and accelerator physics, medical applications, isotope production, earth exploration, astrophysics, homeland security and materials science. The workshop attracted 11 participants from six countries, who benefited first hand from the knowledge and dedication of the code developers from the Culham Fusion Energy Centre of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. The NEA Data Bank Computer Program Services organises several training sessions every year, contributing to the dissemination of state of the art codes and engaging the nuclear community. These week‑long courses provide a unique opportunity to bring together code users from around the globe and facilitate exchanges on the use of computer codes. Further information on the NEA Data Bank training courses is available at www.oecd-nea.org/dbcps/training-courses/.
JEFF Stakeholder Workshop
The first‑ever JEFF Stakeholder Workshop was held on 6‑7 June 2019 by the NEA Data Bank. The workshop brought together 55 participants representing the industry, regulatory and safety authorities, as well as nuclear data experimentalists, evaluators and nuclear data library managers from JEFF and other library projects. Participants discussed the Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion (JEFF) Nuclear Data Library project and how well it addresses the needs and expectations of nuclear data end‑users in view of its future release JEFF‑4 planned for 2024. A workshop statement is in preparation and will be communicated to the NEA Steering Committee.
The next edition of the NEA course on Thermodynamic Data Collection and Assessment, will take place on 14 September 2019 in Kyoto, Japan, in conjunction with the International Conference on the Chemistry and Migration Behavior of Actinides and Fission Products in the Geosphere. This one day training session is designed to familiarise scientists with current NEA TDB activities and standards, provide an overview of data collection and analysis techniques, and work through some real system examples to demonstrate the critical evaluation and data assessment process. For more information on the course and to register, please visit: www.oecd-nea.org/dbtdb/courses/tdb2019/
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