Nuclear decommissioning under spotlight in Canada
On 3‑5 October 2017, the NEA Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling (WPDD) held its annual meeting in Ottawa, Canada, hosted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in co-operation with Natural Resources Canada. Delegates from fifteen member countries and two international organisations reviewed the WPDD’s current work on benchmarking in the context of nuclear power plant decommissioning costs, preparing for decommissioning, optimising the management of low-level radioactive materials and waste from decommissioning, as well as on radiological characterisation for decommissioning. Participants also discussed international developments in the field of nuclear decommissioning. During a topical session on the social aspects of decommissioning, several NEA member countries presented case studies addressing experiences and challenges in understanding and incorporating social factors in the decommissioning decision making process. The meeting ended with a special session on the decommissioning scene in Canada, which highlighted the planned, ongoing and completed decommissioning projects. The meeting participants acknowledged that the Canadian nuclear industry is taking significant steps to address its nuclear decommissioning responsibilities. Canada is seeking to accelerate the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, particularly of facilities that ceased operations many years ago, and engagement activities are ongoing at many levels amongst proponents, the regulator, government and a wide range of stakeholders.
MOU between WANO and NEA to Strengthen Global Nuclear Safety
The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and the NEA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to co‑operate on the further development of approaches, practices and methods in order to proactively strengthen global nuclear safety. The MOU serves to set out a transparent framework for co‑operation between WANO and NEA in areas related to the safe operation of nuclear power plants and the human aspects of nuclear safety. It will facilitate information exchange between the stakeholders in NEA member countries and nuclear power plant operators, enhance the common understanding of nuclear safety culture challenges and support general efforts to further enhance nuclear safety worldwide. WANO and NEA have already identified safety culture as a fundamental subject of common interest and are currently collaborating to launch in 2018 a series of country‑specific discussions to explore the influence of national culture on the safety culture. Read more
Australia accedes to the GIF Framework Agreement
On 14 September 2017, Australia deposited its instrument of accession to the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems. A ceremony was held at the OECD Château which included His Excellency Mr Brian Pontifex, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the OECD, and Dr Adrian (Adi) Paterson, CEO of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). The 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. Australia became the 14th member of the GIF on 22 June 2016 when it signed the GIF Charter. Acceding to the Framework Agreement will allow Australia to become actively engaged in R&D projects related to Generation IV systems, particularly in R&D projects on advanced materials. For more information on GIF, see www.gen-4.org.
Encouraging Female Scientists of the Future
Encouraging female scientists of the future was the focus of the international mentoring workshop held on 25-26 July 2017 by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), in co‑operation with Japan's National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST). The two‑day workshop took place in conjunction with QST's first International Symposium "Quantum Life Science" in Chiba, Japan. The primary participants in the workshop were 55 female high school students, accompanied by 16 teachers from various cities in Japan. The event provided the students with a rare opportunity to interact with seven highly accomplished female mentors to talk about their future careers in science and engineering. During the two-day workshop, the mentors exchanged their real‑life experiences and shared valuable advice and insight with the students. Discussions addressed the difficulties faced by women professionals in many parts of the world and the steps that can be taken to support young women who aspire to become science and technology professionals. Read more
Women who helped shape the history of nuclear science and technology
A little over a year ago, the NEA moved to a new building operated by the OECD in Boulogne‑Billancourt, located in the southern suburbs of Paris. The Boulogne building was built in 1927, originally as an industrial space long used to produce telephone control units, and had recently undergone renovations to transform the interior to an office space. Because the offices were both new and undecorated, the opportunity presented itself to be creative with the new NEA meeting rooms. NEA Director-General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, was thus inspired to give a personality to the seven meeting rooms and so initiated a staff survey to choose names for the rooms. The results of the survey ranged from elements of the periodic table to nuclear reactor components or to Star Trek characters, but the final decision was made to name the rooms after notable female scientists who had advanced knowledge in the nuclear field. Seven remarkable women, with exceptional careers but who have rarely been cast into the limelight, now grace the walls of NEA meeting rooms. Find out more in the latest issue of NEA News: oe.cd/NEA-35-1.
NEA International School of Nuclear Law wraps up another successful session
The 17th session of the NEA International School of Nuclear Law (ISNL) was held from 21 August to 1 September 2017 in Montpellier, France, bringing together a diverse group of graduate students and professionals from across the world to learn more about the legal framework and major issues affecting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Organised by the NEA and the University of Montpellier, the ISNL is a unique educational programme that offers participants from the academic, private and governmental sectors an in-depth look at international nuclear law, focusing on areas such as nuclear safety, environmental law, security, safeguards and nuclear liability. This year's session was attended by 64 participants from 40 countries, including numerous non‑NEA member countries, many of whom received support to attend the ISNL from the IAEA, which also provided several lecturers. The ISNL has attracted since 2001 nearly 900 participants worldwide from an increasingly diverse range of countries, many of whom are now experts in the nuclear law field.
Joshikai for Future Scientists: International Mentoring Workshop in Science and Engineering
Despite many efforts and progress over the past decades, women remain underrepresented in executive positions in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) fields. Many countries are working to close the gender gap and develop policies to reverse this trend. An important example is Japan, where Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has made enhancing the role of women in the economy a national priority. His government aims to increase the presence of women working in science and engineering, as well as to develop policies that empower women to progress in their careers. NEA is pleased to conduct relevant activities in support of this policy and those of other member countries wishing to explore ways of attracting, recruiting and retaining women in science and technology. In that respect, the NEA has co‑operated with Japan's National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST) to organise an international mentoring workshop that will provide about 60 female high-school students the opportunity to engage with seven highly accomplished women scientists and engineers (three from Japan, the rest from other NEA member countries) to discuss the benefits of careers in science and technology. This two-day workshop will take place in conjunction with QST's first International Symposium "Quantum Life Science" during 25-26 July 2017 in Chiba, Japan. Find out more at oe.cd/joshikai.
NEA and ROSATOM sign agreement at ATOMEXPO 2017
On 19-21 June 2017, the NEA participated in the ATOMEXPO 2017 International Forum, which brought together key figures in the global nuclear energy industry. Among other activities, NEA Director-General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, spoke at the opening day plenary session on the role of nuclear power in a low-carbon energy future. In his speech he noted the importance of understanding the long-term role of baseload power plants in meeting future energy requirements and environmental goals. On the first day of the Forum, the NEA and Russian State Corporation ROSATOM signed an agreement to facilitate the translation of key NEA reports into Russian in order to enable the broader dissemination within Russia of important nuclear safety information, economic analysis and the results of the scientific work at the NEA. In a widely attended signing ceremony, ROSATOM Director-General Alexey Likhachov signed the agreement on behalf of the ROSATOM and NEA Director-General Magwood signed on behalf of the NEA.
EPRI and NEA sign MOU to advance global nuclear research
A Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperative Activities has been signed between the NEA and the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI), recognising the value of increased collaboration between both parties. The purpose of the MOU is to deepen both parties' understanding of the global research needs in the area of nuclear energy, taking into consideration the consolidated perspectives of utilities and the industry, as well as those of regulators and government organisations. The MOU seeks to reduce knowledge gaps by facilitating exchange between EPRI and NEA on global research activities in various fields of nuclear energy, such as safety, radioprotection, scientific and technology developments, operational experience, economic analysis and waste management. It outlines the scope and objectives of a five-year agreement for NEA and EPRI to establish a formalised dialogue. Read more
Argentina and Romania to join the NEA
On 7 June 2017, the accessions of the Argentine Republic and Romania to the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and its Data Bank were formalised with official exchange of letters between each country and Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurría. An official ceremony took place in the presence of a Romanian delegation led by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and Minister of Public Finance Viorel Stefan, and an Argentine delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Susana Malcorra and Minister of Energy and Mining Juan José Aranguren. NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV officiated the ceremony. As each country may select the date at which its rights and responsibilities as an NEA member begins, Argentina has selected 1 September 2017 as the start of its membership and Romania has selected 15 October 2017. Both Argentina and Romania possess strong and highly experienced nuclear technology infrastructures that will enable them to be vibrant contributors to the mission of the NEA. These accessions highlight the commitment of both countries to implementing the highest standards in their national nuclear energy policies and programmes. Read more about the accessions here
Argentina and Romania to become members of the Nuclear Energy Agency
On 17 May 2017, upon recommendation of the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) agreed to invite the Argentine Republic and Romania to become full members of the NEA and its Data Bank. These accessions will be formalised with official exchange of letters between each country and OECD Secretary‑General Angel Gurría in June 2017. Both Argentina and Romania countries have well‑established relations with the NEA. Their accession to the NEA will be mutually beneficial for both countries and the NEA membership in several fields, particularly know‑how and research activities related to pressurised heavy water reactor technology. Read more
International workshop launches the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework
On 11-12 May 2017, the NEA organised the launch of the NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework with a workshop that brought together 50 representatives from 19 member countries. No matter what their energy policy is, nuclear skills and education is an increasingly important challenge for NEA member countries, all of whom need to have a new generation of highly-qualified scientists and engineers to ensure the continued safe and efficient use of nuclear technologies for a wide range of industrial, scientific and medical purposes. The NEA has developed the NEST Framework in partnership with its member countries in order to help address gaps in nuclear skills capacity building and knowledge transfer through multinational collaboration. Participants at the workshop discussed national education and training needs, priorities and practices. The workshop concluded with a common understanding on and a shared interest in the NEST Framework. Formal decisions by member countries on the practicalities associated with the framework will follow in the coming months.
NEA and China's National Energy Administration sign MOU to strengthen co-operation
On 28 April 2017, the NEA and the National Energy Administration of China (C/NEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, enhancing co‑operation between both parties. An official ceremony was held in Beijing, China, at which C/NEA Deputy Administrator Li Fanrong signed the MoU on behalf of the C/NEA and NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, signed on behalf of the NEA. The agreement foresees co‑operation in a number of fields, including nuclear energy development, nuclear safety research and radiological protection. The memorandum of understanding between the NEA and the C/NEA represents further progress in the growing collaboration between China and the Agency, and complements the memorandum of understanding signed by the NEA and the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) of China in 2014 and the Joint Declaration on Co‑operation signed by the NEA and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) in 2013.
NEA expert receives award for international co-operation from Korea
Dr Henri Paillère, NEA's Senior Nuclear Analyst and Acting Head of the Division of Nuclear Development, has been honoured with the Award for Person of Merit for International Co-operation in Nuclear Industry by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. The honour was awarded in recognition of Dr Paillère's dedication and service for the promotion of co-operation between Korea and the NEA, including through his work in support of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC). "We are very pleased to see Dr Paillère's accomplishments being acknowledged," NEA Director-General Mr Magwood said. "We are very fortunate to have outstanding people like Henri at the Agency."
China Atomic Energy Authority visits the NEA to discuss co-operation
On 14 April 2017, Mr WANG Yiren, China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) Vice Chairman, and representatives from the CAEA met with NEA Director‑General Mr William D. Magwood, IV, and senior staff to provide the NEA with an overview of the Chinese nuclear power programme. They also discussed co‑operation in a number of areas, including stakeholder involvement in nuclear decision making, which is acknowledged by the NEA community as an important issue and is a growing concern in China. Discussions underlined that both China and the NEA Membership share the objective of the safe, environmentally sound and efficient use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Accordingly, the NEA and CAEA intend to extend the technical exchanges within the framework of the existing Joint Declaration on Co‑operation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, which was signed in 2013. This very constructive visit exemplified the valuable exchanges of information and ideas from which both China and the NEA can benefit.
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.
Optimising safety and efficiency in nuclear decommissioning
On 7-9 February 2017, the NEA in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held a Workshop on Current and Emerging Methods for Optimising Safety and Efficiency in Nuclear Decommissioning, an issue of growing importance for many countries worldwide. Hosted in Norway by the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) on behalf of the NEA Halden Reactor Project, the workshop was attended by more than 100 participants from 25 countries, representing a wide range of stakeholders, including operators, regulators, scientists, consultants and contractors. It provided an opportunity for the participating experts to exchange information and views on lessons learnt from ongoing and completed decommissioning projects; ongoing and future R&D and collaboration needs; and methods for improving decommissioning strategies. The workshop programme also featured demonstrations of advanced computer-aided technologies in support of decommissioning planning. Participants concluded that the sharing of knowledge and experiences and technology demonstrations at the workshop would be useful for many nuclear facilities worldwide in addressing the existing decommissioning challenges. Workshop presentations are available online at oe.cd/1On
Stakeholder Support and Involvement Essential to Future of Nuclear Energy Decision Making
Over 130 experts from 26 countries have come together to discuss international best practices and concluded that stakeholder support and involvement are essential to achieving accepted and sustainable decisions for nearly all aspects of nuclear energy. On 17-19 January 2017, the experts convened in Paris at the NEA Workshop on Stakeholder Involvement in Nuclear Decision Making to compare their vast array of experiences and to identify approaches that help contribute, or not, to stakeholder confidence; to discuss the laws, policies and programmes underway in different countries; and to develop a collective wisdom from which all may learn and benefit. In addition to sharing experiences and best practices, during the workshop participants debated such questions as who among the members of the public and other stakeholders should be informed and how science should be used to address their concerns regarding the choices to be made; in what ways can the full array of viewpoints be put into a balanced perspective; and what roles can and should social media play in engaging with stakeholders. Read more