OECD/NEA co-operation with China
On 26-27 February 2014, an OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) delegation led by the NEA Director-General, Luis E. Echávarri, met with several Chinese institutions to discuss co-operation in a number of areas, including nuclear safety and development. On 27 February, the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) organised a co-operation workshop to explore practical implementation of the 2013 Joint Declaration on Co-operation with the OECD/NEA. The workshop was attended by 40 participants from the CAEA, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), the National Energy Administration (NEA), the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and other important actors in China’s nuclear power programme: Link1, Link2
Workshop on human performance under extreme conditions
On 24-26 February 2014, the NEA Working Group on Human and Organisational Factors (WGHOF) and the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) hosted a workshop in Brugg, Switzerland, to gain insights on human performance under extreme conditions. One of the challenges associated with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident was the requirement for staff to work in harsh conditions for an extended period of time. However, recognising that extreme events are not unique to the nuclear power industry, speakers with wide a range of backgrounds, expertise and experience were invited to participate in the workshop. Nearly 40 participants gained an appreciation of the difficulties in supporting effective human response during extreme events. The results of the workshop will be embedded in a report that documents good practices and makes recommendations to address knowledge gaps. The WGHOF operates under the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI).
Updating the IEA-NEA Nuclear Technology Roadmap: a focus on Asia
On 25 February 2014, the NEA and the International Energy Agency (IEA) organised a stakeholder engagement workshop in Hong Kong on the update of the joint IEA-NEA Nuclear Technology Roadmap. Forty participants joined the workshop from governments, research organisations and industry, with strong representation from Asian countries. This included countries with significant experience of nuclear power (China, India, Japan, Korea) and also potential newcomer countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam). Asia is expected to be the main region of growth for nuclear power, with China leading the way in terms of planned nuclear power capacity additions and reactor design developments. Key messages to emerge from the workshop discussions included the need to address public acceptance issues through informative and targeted communication at all levels of society, from local communities to policy makers. Participants also discussed the need to develop adequate human resources and infrastructure. Presentations and a summary report are available online. The updated roadmap is scheduled to be published in December 2014.
Modelling employment in the nuclear power sector
On 13-14 February 2014, the NEA held a workshop on modelling the economic impacts of nuclear power. The workshop, which was held in co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), explored ways of modelling employment in the nuclear power sector, as well as in the electricity generation industry more generally. Presentations examined top-down modelling of the nuclear power sector in the United States and how bottom-up estimates of direct and indirect employment have been conducted in the United States and France. Given the wealth of research on input-output analysis, and the wealth of data resources in the form of input-output tables collected by the OECD, the consensus among participants was that there should be a standard set of guidelines for introducing the nuclear power sector into these tables to allow the estimation of direct employment (nuclear electricity generation), indirect employment (nuclear power supply chain), and induced employment (due to changes in investment caused by the nuclear power sector). A future workshop will compare nuclear power employment with employment in the coal, natural gas and wind power sectors. Further information on the work of the NEA Nuclear Development Division can be found online.
Workshop on radiation-induced thyroid cancer
On 21-23 February 2014, the NEA, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and Fukushima Medical University co-organised a workshop on radiation and thyroid cancer. The focus of the workshop, which was held in Tokyo, Japan, was to collect and present a state-of-the-art scientific understanding of radiation-induced thyroid cancer, and to discuss how recent thyroid cancer screening activities in Fukushima Prefecture could be interpreted. Workshop participants agreed that the latency period of thyroid cancer is four to five years at the shortest, and that the widespread thyroid ultrasound screening activities following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident have identified more cancers than would have been noted through the standard Japanese incidence database (described as the “screening effect”). Given the medical understanding that thyroid cancer grows slowly, and the recognition that the “screening effect” explains cancers in excess of those seen in other prefectures, it is unlikely that these cancers were caused by the exposure from iodine-131 (131I) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011.
Applications for the 2014 International School of Nuclear Law
Applications for the 2014 session of the International School of Nuclear Law (ISNL), to be held from 25 August to 5 September in Montpellier, France, are being accepted until 31 March. The course provides in-depth instruction by international experts on the legal framework for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Course information and application forms are available on the ISNL web page.
Meeting nuclear data needs for advanced reactor systems
The NEA Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co-operation (WPEC) provides a worldwide framework for co-operative activities among major nuclear data evaluation projects. WPEC Subgroup 31 was established in order to leverage the collective knowledge of the international nuclear data measurement community, from which the subgroup has recently prepared the report “Meeting Nuclear Data Needs for Advanced Reactor Systems”. In the report, the members of Subgroup 31 performed reviews of key evaluated data uncertainties, state-of-the-art experimental techniques and current experimental situations, and proposed a path to meet the requirements. This report and more information on the WPEC are available on the WPEC web page.