Working Party on Nuclear Energy Economics (WPNE)
The NEA's Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC) agreed during its June 2007 meeting to establish a subgroup to provide analyses of economic issues on a near-permanent basis. The Working Party on Nuclear Energy Economics (WPNE), which is made up of representatives from 12 NEA member countries and international organisation observers, met for the first time on 12-13 November 2007 at NEA headquarters. Participants discussed a wide range of issues in the field of economics of nuclear energy and several activities that could be undertaken within the framework of the working party's mandate.
Two sets of recommendations to the NDC were drafted. The first concerns tasks to be carried out by the WPNE on a continuous basis. The second set of recommendations identifies key economic issues that could be incorporated into the NDC programme of work, such as the cost-effectiveness of nuclear energy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of construction costs on the economics of nuclear energy.
To collect and compile information and conduct analyses and assessments on all economic aspects of nuclear energy.
- To provide a forum for exchange of information between experts on all economic aspects of nuclear energy systems.
- To carry out, on a periodic basis, studies on the economics of nuclear energy used for both electric and non-electric applications. This includes investment, O&M, and the fuel cycle (plant-level costs), the impacts on the electricity system at large (system costs), as well as the impacts on the wider environment, security of supply and society (external costs).
- In co-operation with appropriate others (e.g. IEA and IAEA) examine the role of nuclear energy systems in liberalised and regulated electricity markets, including the impacts of changes in market regulation and energy policies.
- To examine, on an Ad hoc basis, specific economic issues, such as capital costs of nuclear facilities and their financing, management and financing of liabilities (e.g. decommissioning, waste disposal), identification and valuation of externalities.
- To develop methods and models for assessing the costs of nuclear energy systems including innovative reactors and fuel cycles.
Relations with the NDC
- The NDC will identify activities to be conducted by the WPNE but will also expect the WPNE to provide its own proposals for potential topics to be included in the biennial programme of work.
- All reports, publications and products of the WPNE will be reviewed and approved by the NDC before being released.
- The WPNE will report to the NDC on its progress and activities as requested, and at least on an annual basis.
Working methods and deliverables
The WPNE will meet periodically, usually twice a year, and organise workshops or symposia on economic aspects of nuclear energy on an Ad hoc basis.
The tasks undertaken under the umbrella of the WPNE will lead to reports and studies on issues such as the economics of the fuel cycle, the financing of nuclear power plants and all other aspects that concern nuclear energy in a market environment.
Duration of mandate
The new mandate will run from 1st January 2017 to 31st December 2019 in line with the rhythm of the programme of work of the NDC. The mandate of the WPNE is renewable subject to the agreement of the NEA Steering Committee and the NDC.