The NEA supports its member countries in their efforts to ensure high standards of safety in the use of nuclear energy in two ways: by supporting the development of effective and efficient regulation and oversight of nuclear installations and activities; and by helping to maintain and advance the associated scientific and technological knowledge base. The work of the Agency in this area is co-ordinated through the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and the Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI).
The CNRA, an international committee made up of senior representatives from member country regulatory bodies, held its biannual meeting on 30 November-1 December 2020 to discuss and evaluate its mission, vision, organisational structure, governance documents and leadership. In addition to the Strategic Review discussion, the committee approved several technical reports. Amongst the approved reports were “Regulatory Perspectives on Nuclear Fuel Qualification for Advanced Reactors” and a “Consensus Position on the Impact of Cyber Security Features on Digital I&C Systems Important to Safety at Nuclear Power Plants”. It also discussed the establishment of a project to study the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on regulatory inspection practices.
The meeting concluded with three presentations on issues of particular regulatory significance in member countries: i) a presentation from the United Kingdom on graphite cracking in gas-cooled reactors; ii) a presentation from India on a flooding incident at the Kaiga Generating Station; and iii) a presentation from the Slovak Republic on quality assurance issues at the Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant Units 3&4 under construction.
The CSNI, which is a forum for the exchange of technical information and for collaboration between organisations on nuclear safety technology, held its biannual meeting on 2-3 December 2020. An important topic of discussion during the meeting was the preservation of key experimental data. In this context, considering that the safe operation of nuclear reactors is based on a large volume of theoretical and experimental data, the committee decided to establish a senior expert group to recommend approaches for identifying and preserving datasets required to support the safety of nuclear reactors and develop a methodology for determining which the key datasets for users.
The committee also approved a number of reports, including a technical opinion paper that reviews the applicability of current safety criteria to the deployment of accident-tolerant fuels and the proceedings of the 2019 workshop on developments in safety assessment methods and safety management of fuel cycle facilities. As a follow-up to a recommendation from this workshop, a new activity is being initiated to assess best practices in applying a graded approach to fuel cycle facility safety.