Nearly 200 senior leaders in the international nuclear sector from 31 countries came together in Paris today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and to discuss the current state and future prospects for nuclear energy. To mark the occasion, the NEA organised a special high‑level session for senior leaders in the nuclear sector.
The session opened with video remarks from the OECD Secretary‑General Angel Gurría, an address from Dr Marta Žiaková, Slovak Republic, Chair, NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, and was chaired by NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV. Participants included Alexey Likhachev, Director General, State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom", Russia, Dr Yoshiaki Oka, Chairman, Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), Kristine L. Svinicki, Chairman, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and Daniel Verwaerde, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
On the path towards a low‑carbon energy future, nuclear energy's benefits as the only large‑scale, dispatchable source of pollution‑free energy are more important today than ever. However, the nuclear sector must evolve in order to make nuclear plants more flexible and cost‑efficient while achieving high levels of nuclear safety. New NEA efforts such as Nuclear Innovation 2050, which encourages multilateral co‑operation for a new era of nuclear technology innovation, and the Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework, which was set up to foster a new generation of nuclear experts and leaders, will assist in this regard.
"While no one energy option will solve all our needs, nuclear energy along with renewables and other technologies can provide a balanced, sustainable approach for today and for the long‑term future," Secretary‑General Gurría said in his video statement. "The NEA, which combines the cutting‑edge scientific and technical expertise with the policy discussions and the policy solutions, will be key for delivering this future that we all depend on."
"There have been many successes and accomplishments over the last 60 years. While we take this opportunity to recognise the tremendous contributions of the men and women who have served with the NEA over the decades, we are excited by the road before us, the challenges ahead and the as yet unknown priorities of tomorrow," said Director‑General Magwood. "The work of the NEA is always just beginning."
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) was formed in 1958 at a time when many countries first embarked on harnessing the atom for the betterment of society. Over the last sixty years, it has supported its member countries by delivering authoritative data and analyses on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It has helped them to build common frameworks on national practices in such key areas as reactor safety, radiological protection, and radioactive waste management; as well as in nuclear law and nuclear regulation. It has provided a flexible and effective framework for co‑operative research.
The NEA is an intergovernmental agency which operates within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD). It facilitates co‑operation among countries with advanced nuclear technology infrastructures to seek excellence in nuclear safety, technology, science, related environmental and economic matters and law. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co‑operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It strives to provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear technology policies. NEA membership includes 33 countries that co‑operate through joint research, consensus‑building among experts and development of best practices.
NEA activities cover nuclear safety and regulation, including human aspects such as safety culture; radioactive waste management; decommissioning; radiological protection; nuclear science and data; nuclear technology development; economic analyses; and policy and legal matters. The NEA is the technical Secretariat for the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme, the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Co‑operation and the Generation IV International Forum. Over 20 joint undertakings operate under NEA auspices, including the Halden Reactor Project, which will also celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2018.