Legal Frameworks for Long-Term Operation
of Nuclear Power Reactors
With almost 70% of the operating nuclear power reactors over 30 years of age, countries around the
world are assessing whether to allow reactor operation past the 50‑60 year mark and potentially up
to 80 years. Ensuring a proper legal framework for the long‑term operation (LTO) of nuclear power
reactors is a key component of such considerations.
The aim of this report is to provide insights into the various laws, regulations and policies that
contribute to different countries' approaches to LTO. By collecting information from more than 20 NEA
member and non‑member countries, this report highlights both commonalities among approaches
as well as possible reasons for variations. Ultimately, the information gathered can serve as a vital
resource for future exchanges respecting the legal aspects of LTO, with a view to further development
and strengthening of the collective understanding of these issues. Download the publication
The Supply of Medical Radioisotopes: An Economic Diagnosis and Possible Solutions
This report explores the main reasons behind the unreliable supply of Technetium‑99m (Tc‑99m) in health‑care systems and policy options to address the issue. Tc‑99m is used in 85% of nuclear medicine diagnostic scans performed worldwide – around 30 million patient examinations every year. These scans allow diagnoses of diseases in many parts of the human body, including the skeleton, heart and circulatory system, and the brain. Medical isotopes are subject to radioactive decay and have to be delivered just‑in‑time through a complex supply chain. However, ageing production facilities and a lack of investment have made the supply of Tc‑99m unreliable. This report analyses the use and substitutability of Tc‑99m in health care, health‑care provider payment mechanisms for scans, and the structure of the supply chain. It concludes that the main
reasons for unreliable supply are that production is not economically viable and that the structure of the supply chain prevents producers from charging prices that reflect the full costs of production and supply. Download the publication
The Costs of Decarbonisation: System Costs with High Shares of Nuclear and Renewables
Under the Paris Agreement, OECD countries agreed to aim for a reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions sufficient to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre industrial levels. This commitment requires a massive effort to decarbonise energy and electricity generation, a radical restructuring of the electric power sector and the rapid deployment of large amounts of low‑carbon generation technologies, in particular nuclear energy and renewable energies such as wind and solar PV.
This study assesses the costs of alternative low‑carbon electricity systems capable of achieving strict carbon emission reductions consistent with the aims of the Paris Agreement. It analyses several deep decarbonisation scenarios to reach the same stringent carbon emission target but characterised by different shares of variable renewable technologies, hydroelectric power and nuclear energy. Download the publication | Executive Summary
The Full Costs of Electricity Provision
Electricity provision touches upon every facet of life in OECD and non-OECD countries alike, and choosing how this electricity is generated – whether from fossil fuels, nuclear energy or renewables – affects not only economic outcomes but individual and social well-being in the broader sense. Research on the overall costs of electricity is an ongoing effort, as only certain costs of electricity provision are perceived directly by producers and consumers. Other costs, such as the health impacts of air pollution, damage from climate change or the effects on the electricity system of small-scale variable production are not reflected in market prices and thus diminish well-being in unaccounted for ways.
Accounting for these social costs in order to establish the full costs of electricity provision is difficult, yet such costs are too important to be disregarded in the context of the energy transitions currently under way in OECD and NEA countries. This report draws on evidence from a large number of studies concerning the social costs of electricity and identifies proven instruments for internalising them so as to improve overall welfare.
The results outlined in the report should lead to new and more comprehensive research on the full costs of electricity, which in turn would allow policy makers and the public to make better informed decisions along the path towards fully sustainable electricity systems. Download the report | Executive Summary
Uranium 2018: Resources, Production and Demand
Uranium is the raw material used to produce fuel for long-lived nuclear power facilities, necessary for the generation of significant amounts of baseload low-carbon electricity for decades to come. Although a valuable commodity, declining market prices for uranium in recent years, driven by uncertainties concerning the evolution in the use of nuclear power, have led to significant production cutbacks and the postponement of mine development plans in a number of countries and to some questions being raised about future uranium supply.
This 27th edition of the "Red Book", a recognised world reference on uranium jointly prepared by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), provides analyses and information from 41 producing and consuming countries in order to address these and other questions. The present edition provides the most recent review of world uranium market fundamentals and presents data on global uranium exploration, resources, production and reactor-related requirements. It offers updated information on established uranium production centres and mine development plans, as well as projections of nuclear generating capacity and reactor-related requirements through 2035, in order to address long-term uranium supply and demand issues. Download the publication
Nuclear Law Bulletin No. 103
The Nuclear Law Bulletin is a unique international publication for both professionals and academics in the field of nuclear law. It provides readers with authoritative and comprehensive information on nuclear law developments. Published free online twice a year in both English and French, it features topical articles written by renowned legal experts, covers legislative developments worldwide and reports on relevant case law, bilateral and international agreements as well as regulatory activities of international organisations.
Feature articles in this issue include: "A perspective on key legal considerations for performance-based regulating"; "From Waste Confidence to Continued Storage: Legal theories supporting the US NRC's licensing of nuclear facilities without a repository"; and "Technology-neutral licensing of advanced reactors: Evaluating the past and present NRC framework". Download the issue