1 February 1958
31 States — Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States.
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is a specialized agency within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), based in Paris, France. It was established on 1 February 1958 under the name of the European Nuclear Energy Agency (ENEA) but was renamed the Nuclear Energy Agency on 20 April 1972, to reflect its broader membership (including the United States, Canada, and other non-European nations).
The objective of the Agency is to assist Member countries in maintaining and developing nuclear energy as a safe, environmentally acceptable, and economical energy source by serving as a forum where states can share information and experience and promote international co-operation.
NEA membership currently consists of 28 countries across Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region. It represents 85 percent of the world’s installed nuclear capacity and includes a large majority of the more advanced countries in the nuclear field.
The NEA seeks to promote cooperation between the Member governments on the safety and regulatory aspects of nuclear power, and on the development of nuclear energy as a contributor to economic progress. The statute of the NEA refers to the objective of preventing the proliferation of nuclear explosive devices. However, the Agency does not have direct nonproliferation responsibilities.
Its areas of work include nuclear safety and regulation, nuclear energy development, radiation protection and public health, nuclear law and liability, nuclear science, maintenance of a data bank, and information and communication services.
This committee is composed of representatives from all Member governments and from the European Union. The Secretariat serves seven specialized standing technical committees on radiation protection, nuclear safety and regulation, nuclear development, nuclear science, radioactive waste management, legal affairs and data collection under the leadership of the Steering Committee, which reports directly to the OECD Council.
On 29 February, the NEA held a live press conference regarding its report entitled “Five Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Nuclear Safety Improvements and Lessons Learnt.” The report discusses lessons learned from Fukushima and what actions the NEA has undertaken to improve nuclear security in its member countries.
On 29 January, the NEA and the International Energy Agency (IEA) jointly published the 2015 Technology Roadmap, outlining the current status of nuclear technology development as well as the need for additional research and development to address increased safety requirements and improved economics.
On 5 May 2015, Mr. Mamoru Fukuyama, Japan Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office and of the Environment met with the NEA Director‑General Mr. Magwood to discuss nuclear safety issues. They exchanged views on international efforts to strengthen nuclear regulation, safety, research and radiological protection in the post-Fukushima context.
On 1 September, Mr. Hu Jinwo, Director of the National Nuclear Emergency Response Technical Assistance Center of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and 17 Chinese experts met with the NEA to discuss international nuclear management. The NEA presented its activities in a follow-up to Fukushima as well as presented on the NEA International Nuclear Emergency Exercise INEX-5.
On 8-9 December, the NEA Working Party for Nuclear Energy Matters (WPNEM) met with representatives from 17 countries. The main topic of discussion was notification, communication, and interfaces in relation with catastrophic events involving nuclear or radiological material.
From 23-24 January, the International Energy Agency IEA and the NEA organized a stakeholder engagement workshop in Paris to facilitate the update of their joint Nuclear Technology Roadmap to 2050. Over 30 multidisciplinary experts gathered to discuss nuclear energy’s relevance and challenge to “decarbonization policy.”
On 19 March, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria announced that William Magwood would succeed Luis Echavarri as NEA Director-General. Magwood serves on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and has experience chairing the NEA Steering Committee. In the interim between Mr. Echavarri’s retirement on 30 April and Mr. Magwood’s commencement on 1 September, Dr. Thierry Dujardin will fill in as the Acting NEA Director-General.
On 8 April, the NEA and Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held an international conference in Tokyo to review measures regarding “global nuclear safety,” keeping in mind the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
On 22 May, the NEA and the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) of China signed “A Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Regulation of Nuclear and Radiation Safety.” The agreement strives to enhance bilateral cooperation and data sharing on nuclear safety regulation, research, legal frameworks, and environmental impacts.
On 24 October, Poland officially became the 25th country to join the NEA Data Bank, the center of reference for nuclear data tools and services.
On 31 October, the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy held a policy debate on the thorium fuel cycle to discuss whether the introduction of a thorium fuel cycle could become a practical option, as well as the technical challenges associated with the various approaches to the use of thorium fuel.
On 15‑18 December 2014, the NEA hosted for the first time the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Policy Group meeting, as well as the meeting of the Experts Group. The forum underlines the importance of safety approaches for next‑generation nuclear energy systems.
On 15 March, Dr. Allison M. Macfarlane of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was appointed the new Chairman of the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP).
On 25-26 April, Russia participated for the first time in the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, the highest decision-making body of the NEA.
On 16-17 May, the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) held its semi-annual meeting in Beijing, China. The GIF policy group reviewed and approved Phase I Safety Design Criteria that delineate the safety goals for Generation IV sodium-cooled fast reactors. The Policy Group also reached consensus on a strategic plan that includes an updated technological roadmap and addresses improving internal collaboration and external engagement.
From 27–29 June, the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century took place in St Petersburg, Russia. The conference was jointly organized by the IAEA and NEA with 89 countries and 7 international organizations represented. Nuclear safety was emphasized for the future growth for nuclear power, due to the belief that nuclear power still remains an important energy option for many countries.
On 10 September, the NEA published a report into the response and lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The report details the efforts of the international community to strengthen nuclear regulation, safety, research, and radiological protection post-Fukushima.
On 13 November, the NEA and the China Atomic Energy Authority established a joint declaration on cooperation. The agreement sees a future of joint work in many field including nuclear safety, nuclear science, new reactor designs, radiological protection, and radioactive waste management. Furthermore, the agreement allows for collaboration in the field of nuclear energy technology development between the NEA and CAEA.
On 4-5 December, the NEA Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters commenced work on a new International Nuclear Emergency Exercise (INEX), which will investigate nuclear data sharing and practical support agreements between countries. It will also examine national-level decision-making mechanisms pertaining to nuclear issues.
On 17-18 January, an NEA team met with Japanese officials to discuss various national regulatory organizations and new approaches to regulatory oversight of nuclear power facilities recommended by the Advisory Committee after the events in Fukushima.
On 12-14 March, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) held an International Experts’ Workshop and International Symposium on the Decommissioning of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Units 1-4 in Tokyo, Japan. This event was co-organized with the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The event provided a forum for discussion and exchange of information among technical experts from Japanese utilities, research and design organizations, regulatory bodies, manufacturing and service companies, as well as other international experts on decommissioning, radioactive waste management, and robotics.
On 4 April, India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) became the first new member in the MDEP since its inception in 2006. Mr. Luis E. Echávarri, Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), which acts as the Technical Secretariat for the MDEP, welcomed the contribution that the AERB would be making to the convergence of nuclear safety practices among regulators in member and non-member countries alike.
On 9-10 May, the NEA and the Industry, Energy, and Tourism Commission of the Spanish Parliament held an international workshop on crisis communication in Madrid. The workshop focused on strategies for sharing best practices and on lessons from the Fukushima accident. Participants stressed the role of globalization and the need to communicate effectively to the public and to the media across national borders. They also noted the public’s demand for information following Fukushima and emotional dimension of crises.
On 23 May, the Russian Federation formally declared that it would join the NEA beginning 1 January 2013. Russia has been an observer state in several NEA committees for many years.
On 12 June, the NEA published a peer review entitled The Post-Closure Radiological Safety Case for a Spent Fuel Repository in Sweden. The report verified the radiological safety analysis report produced by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, which was drafted in support of the company’s application for a general license to build and operate a spent nuclear fuel geological repository. The NEA’s report verified that the site fulfilled all safety requirements, although it cautioned that this was a preliminary report and recommended further analyses once the general license was granted.
On 26 July, the NEA and the IAEA published a report entitled Uranium 2011: Resources, Production, and Demand. The report showed that total identified uranium resources have grown 12.5% since 2008. As of 1 January 2011, this increase in uranium resources is sufficient for fulfilling current requirements for over 100 years. The report emphasizes that despite this increase in uranium resources, timely investments in uranium production facilities is required, mostly due to the long lead time of at least 10 years for a facility to produce refined uranium that is ready for nuclear fuel production. Global uranium mine production increased by over 25 % between 2008-2010 due to a 22% increase in uranium and mine development expenditures during the same time period.
On 30 August – 3 September, NEA Director-General Luis E. Echávarri had a series of high-level visits in the Republic of Korea. Echávarri met with Korean Prime Minister Huwang-Sik Kim, spoke at the Nuclear Science and Technology, and visited the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), and the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC). During his visits, Echávarri spoke on the importance of a technically competent, independent nuclear regulatory body, commended the ROK for establishing a new independent regulatory authority, and highlighted the country’s achievements in nuclear science and research.
On 17 September, the NEA presented to Belgian authorities the outcomes of an international peer review on “Key aspects of the safety case for a radioactive waste surface disposal facility in Belgium.” The review concluded that the Belgian national radioactive management agency, the ONDRAF/NIRAS, has a credible and robust long-term safety strategy and future safety assessment.
On 26 September, the United Arab Emirates participated in its first Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP meeting as a new associate member.
On 19 October, the NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy approved the NEA Programme of Work for 2013-2014. It also held a policy debate on Nuclear Safety Defence-in-Depth. Speakers agreed that the defence-in-depth concept is valid, but that problems with its implementation need to be reviewed and improved. They emphasized that the operator is responsible for the safety of a nuclear facility, but that the regulator should ensure that barriers to protect the public and environment remain effective. They also discussed the importance of a robust safety culture.
On 29 November, the NEA released a study entitled Nuclear Energy and Renewables: System Effects in Low-carbon Electricity Systems, which addresses important interactions between variable renewables and dispatchable energy technologies, such as nuclear power, and their effects on electricity systems. The study found that the system costs of variable renewables can increase the total costs of electricity supply up to one-third, depending on the country, technology, and penetration levels.
On 15 December, NEA Director-General Luis E. Echávarri addressed the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety. Echávarri described the NEA’s efforts in the area of accident management and progression after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident on 11 March 2011. The NEA continues to provide support to Japan regarding regulatory infrastructure, radiological protection and public health, Japanese liability legislation, and crisis communication.
On 28 April, the NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy approved a plan to ensure long- term security of the medical isotope Molybdenum-99 and avoid worldwide shortages of the supply. Addressing governments and industry, the proposed policy called for several actions for maintaining a sufficient and stable supply of Molybdenum-99:
- Ensure investment in the industry and employ full-cost recovery
- Provide safe and adequate environments for market operations
- Create cohesiveness amongst governments and suppliers to create an internationally consistent approach for addressing the security of the supply
- All stakeholders in the industry to contribute toward building reserves in case of unexpected loss of key production sources
- Government to support the use of low enriched uranium in Molybdenum-99 production
The NEA High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) is the creator of this policy approach.
On 11 May Slovenia joined the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, becoming the 30th member of the Agency. It joined the OECD in July of 2010 and had served as an observer in seven NEA standing technical committees since 2002.
On 7-8 June in Paris, members of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and its associated countries met with authorities of the G8 at the Fukushima Accident: Insights and Approaches Forum. The participants discussed lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident and the continuing gravity of the situation in Japan. They agreed on numerous concluding lessons and recommendations:
- Nuclear safety authorities will continue to seek ways to make current and new research reactors safer.
- All regulatory authorities in charge of nuclear facilities should conduct reviews and analyses on the safety of the nuclear power plants.
- Regulatory authorities will continue to expand their knowledge on how to construct nuclear plants that can withstand natural disasters. In addition, more skills are needed to successfully implement emergency response systems and site recovery plans.
- Regulatory bodies will continue to improve their communication with the public by providing more transparent information about the severity of nuclear accidents.
- World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and its members committed to improving their transparency, co-operation among them on an international level, and more peer reviews. This will demonstrate more commitment and effort made toward nuclear safety.
- The authorities requested that the NEA standing technical committees conduct additional technical analyses and internationally share their findings.
On 6-7 October in Switzerland, the Generation IV International Forum was held, bringing together countries to discuss the next generation of nuclear plants. Currently the Forum states are working together to confirm the safety of the existing nuclear reactors in response to the Fukushima accident. Generation IV nuclear power plants will be designed in such a way that they will provide a higher degree of safety, efficiency, security, dependability and will minimize waste, resource utilization and the ability to proliferate. Based on the lessons learned from Fukushima, the Forum is designing safety criteria for the Generation IV plants along with the completion of the Sodium Fast Reactor in 2012.
On 16 October, the government of Japan, in cooperation with the IAEA and NEA, held a symposium on decontamination entitled “Towards the recovery of the environment in Fukushima, Japan”. Goals of the symposium included sharing experiences with decontamination efforts and planning for effective decontamination activities in Japan.
On 16-18 November, NEA teams met with representatives from the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization. The meetings shared the findings of NEA member countries’ post Fukushima stress test reviews.
On 12-15 December, the NEA organized a panel of international experts, at the request of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, to perform an independent peer review of the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company’s reporting of post-closure safety in the license application for the spent nuclear fuel repository to be constructed in Forsmark. The final review report is expected in May 2012.
On 8-9 March, OECD, NEA and the French government hosted the International Conference on Access to Civil Nuclear Energy at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addressed the conference and stressed the Agency’s role in assisting all Member States and future member states in their responsible and secure use and development of nuclear power.
President of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the OECD Secretary-General Mr. Angel Gurria also addressed the conference’s opening session. Luis Echávarri, Director-General of the NEA, moderated the Roundtable discussion on how to finance nuclear power programs. French Prime Minister François Fillon and OECD Secretary-General Angia Gurria gave closing statements emphasizing the importance of sharing and developing peaceful nuclear technology, and the need for reducing the inequalities that prevent developing countries from developing civil nuclear programs.
On 16 June, the NEA published The Nuclear Energy Technology Roadmap. The publication is the result of joint work by the International Energy Agency IEA and the NEA and is one of a series being prepared by the NEA in cooperation with other organizations and industry, at the request of the G8 summit at Aomori (Japan) in June 2008. The overall aim of the publication is to emphasize the advance development and uptake of key low-carbon technologies needed to reach the goal of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.
On 1 September, the 2010 edition of Nuclear Energy Data was released, providing official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy, plans for new nuclear plant construction, nuclear fuel cycle developments as well as current and projected nuclear generating capacity through 2035 of OECD member countries.
On 15 September, the NEA celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) by holding a one-day open colloquium in Paris. At the colloquium, participants took stock of FSC achievements, conducted a multi-stakeholder discussion on important governance themes in radioactive waste management and discussed new directions to be taken by the FSC in the coming years. The work of the Forum on Stakeholder Confidence focused on the growing empowerment of the public in radioactive waste management.
On 14 September the NEA published The Supply of Medical Radioisotopes: An Economic Study of the Molybdenum-99 Supply Chain. The study found that, due to market, policy and technology failures, the supply of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and its decay product technetium-99m (Tc-99m) has become unreliable. Despite being crucial for key medical imaging services for millions of patients worldwide, supply has declined due to unexpected and extended shutdowns at ageing Mo-99 research reactors and processing facilities. In addition, the study seeks to understand public opinion formation and attitudes towards nuclear energy in OECD countries. The study shows an increase in the public view of nuclear energy as a pragmatic contribution to help solve the issues of security of supply, cost stability and climate change.
On 14 October, the IAEA and the NEA celebrated the 20th anniversary of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), which serves to help nuclear and radiation safety authorities and industry specialists worldwide to communicate the safety significance of nuclear and radiological events to the general public, the media and the technical community.
On 18 November, Poland became the 29th member country of the NEA. Poland has been an OECD member state since 1996 and has participated in a selection of NEA activities since 1993.
On 13 December, the NEA published a study on The Security of Energy Supply and the Contribution of Nuclear Energy, aimed at confirming that nuclear energy, a domestic source of electricity with stable costs and no greenhouse gas emissions during production, can make a positive contribution to reliable energy supplies, According to its authors, the study marked the first time that the security of energy supply has been quantitatively verified with coherent indicators, and as a result it is of central relevance in the current energy debate.
On 29-30 January, the NEA and the IAEA convened a workshop on the security of supply of medical radioisotopes. Over 80 experts recognized the vulnerability of the global isotope supply chain and identified measures to enhance short-term supply security.
On 20-22 April, the NEA co-sponsored a conference hosted by the IAEA entitled the “International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century.” Among the event’s objectives were “to recognize the positive momentum towards nuclear power and to further raise the profile of nuclear energy,” to discuss “the development of nuclear power in developing and developed countries,” and to discuss “the interrelationship between nuclear energy, resources, and the environment.” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría gave the keynote speech. He cautioned that “in the long-term, there will be no single solution to providing abundant, clean, and affordable energy,” and argued that “it is essential to keep all low-carbon energy options open and to avoid idolising or demonising any technology.” The conference’s concluding statement asserted that “nuclear energy, as a proven, clean, safe, competitive technology, will make an increasing contribution to the sustainable development of human kind throughout the 21st century and beyond.”
On 9 September, the 2009 edition of Nuclear Energy Data was released. The Nuclear Energy Data, also known as the “Brown Book”, is an annual compilation of essential statistics on nuclear energy in OECD countries. It provides information on plans for new nuclear construction projects, nuclear fuel cycle developments, and projections of installed nuclear capacity to the year 2035 in OECD member countries.
From 10-11 September, the MDEP conference was held at the OECD in Paris, France. Over 170 attendees from 23 countries and 10 international organizations participated in the conference where top regulators discussed important steps needed to enhance the safety of new nuclear reactor designs. The conference was initiated after MDEP members felt that a formal exchange with national regulators from other countries, industry representatives and standards development organizations, was in order.
A proposal for a large, international conference on reversibility organized jointly by the NEA and Andra (agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs) was tentatively scheduled for December 2010 in Reims, France.
On 7 March, 10 states represented by the directors of their nuclear regulatory agencies met at the NEA to discuss the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme. The director of the French Nuclear Safety Authority, Mr. André-Claude Lacoste, chaired the meeting. Agencies present decided to strengthen ties of cooperation and launch a new program of work designed to address specific nuclear energy issues and achieve short-term goals. Issues addressed included: reactor designs, codes for nuclear power plants components, control standards, multinational vender inspections and digital instrumentation. Successful implementation of the MDEP was expected to increase efficiency and enhance safety.
On 3 June, the NEA, along with the IAEA, presented a report entitled "Uranium 2007: Resources, Production and Demand." The report concluded that assuming current consumption, enough uranium was known to be present around the world to meet demand for at least a century. On 16 July, the NEA released a report on the most recent nuclear energy-related data, stating that a total of 346 nuclear power plants produced 21.6% of the OECD-generated electricity. On 16 October, NEA Director-General Luis Echávarri presented "The Outlook for Nuclear Energy," a publication emphasizing the positive role of nuclear energy.
On 16 October, Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, and Mr. Richard J.K. Stratford (United States), Chairman of the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, chaired a meeting marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the NEA in Paris.
The NEA also released its 2008 annual report. At the end of 2008, 345 reactors were connected to the grid in OECD countries, and generated about 22% of the total electricity supply in the OECD area. No new reactors were constructed and one was shut down. The Bohunice-2 reactor in the Slovak Republic was closed on 31 December 2008 as a condition to the country’s accession to the European Union. The main subjects addressed in the report related to nuclear energy development (including uranium production, conversion, and enrichment), nuclear safety and regulation, radioactive waste management, radiological protection, nuclear science, and nuclear law.
The Russian Federation and the NEA signed a joint declaration of cooperation in Moscow on 21 March. Russia’s new membership as an observer is predicted to bring over 3,000 nuclear experts to the NEA. Upon the signing, NEA Director-General Luis Echávarri proclaimed that “This joint declaration is highly significant and an important step towards strengthening ties between the Russian Federation and the NEA.” It is expected that shared knowledge and international cooperation will strengthen the nonproliferation regime.
On 6-8 June during the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, the NEA presented a paper written by Director-General Luis Echávarri entitled What Role for Nuclear Energy? Accordingly, the paper detailed the growing role and demand for nuclear energy, environmental concerns and potential security threats.
On 23 July, OECD Secretary-General Mr. Angel Gurría announced the appointment of Janice Dunn Lee as the Deputy Director-General of the NEA. Ms. Lee’s former duties include an assignment as the Director of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of International Programs.
In June, the NEA reviewed and presented a report by the Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN), the nuclear authority in Spain. Its review examined CSN’s report on a plant incident that affected the service water system. The NEA found CSN to be congruent with international law and commended their efforts.
On 28 June, the NEA adopted an act regarding the sustainability of radioactive materials. This act will further support the “Bataille Act” of 1991 which sought to manage long-surviving radioactive material.
The NEA also released its annual report of 2005 events and developments. The NEA Annual Report 2005 focused on nuclear power in 2005, nuclear energy and civil society, and NEA workshops. However, the report primarily focused on technical programs, such as Nuclear Development and the Fuel Cycle, Nuclear Safety, Regulation, Radioactive Waste Management, and Radiation Protection, among others.
The NEA released a report entitled Energy Nuclear Data 2005, which reports the status and trends of OECD countries. The report also offers its predictions of future energy use till 2025.
The NEA also produced a report entitled the Strategic Plan of the Nuclear Energy Agency, which outlines the agency’s goals from 2005 to 2009. The Strategy Plan was originally adopted in 1999. However, it was revised to meet new energy demands. The new strategy discusses climate change concerns, government safety regulations for nuclear energy, and finally, it will examine energy trends on the free market.
On 12 February, the NEA participated in the signing of protocols to amend the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the Brussels Convention Supplementary to the Paris Convention. The amendments provide for increased compensation to nuclear accident victims and, in the case of the Paris Convention, a wider application of its terms. The Paris Convention Protocol requires the ratification of two-thirds of the signatory States, and the Brussels Supplementary Convention Protocol must be ratified by all signatory States before entering into force.
The NEA also co-sponsored and co-organized a number of conferences related to various nuclear issues. Among these were a 26-28 April international conference on radioactive waste disposal in Berlin, a 2-6 May International Topical Meeting on Advanced Nuclear Installation Safety with the American Nuclear Society in San Francisco, California, and two May conferences on radiation protection and shielding in Portugal and Spain. Meetings held in June included the American Nuclear Society International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants in Pennsylvania and the 7th International Conference on Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management in Berlin. From 23 August to 3 September, the fourth session of the International School on Nuclear Law was held at the University of Montpellier, France. It covered all the essential aspects of the law governing the uses of nuclear energy: radiation protection, nuclear safety, radioactive waste management, transport of nuclear materials, physical protection, non-proliferation, regulation of trade and nuclear third party liability and insurance.
The NEA’s annual report stated that 2003 was an active year that included divergent trends in nuclear energy, with some OECD States showing renewed interest and others emphasizing its risks. Nuclear electricity generation in the region fell approximately two percent, and nuclear power plants were the source of 23 percent of electricity generated. Regarding individual nuclear units, 359 were in operation, with six additional units undergoing construction.
OECD States’ nuclear power plants maintained a good level of safety performance in 2003, but several problems in nuclear safety management continued to require attention. In addition to nuclear safety and regulation, researching and developing new reactor types through the Generation IV International Forum were also identified as primary issues in 2003.
Documents released in 2003 included a report on the decommissioning of nuclear power plants that addressed the relationship between government and industry policies and strategies in the area and noted a wide range of practices among OECD States. A new NEA publication, Nuclear Energy Today, was also introduced.
Numerous conferences and workshops convened throughout the year. In April, the NEA held its second annual NEA-International Commission on Radiological Protection Forum in Lanzarote, Spain to address a range of regulatory concepts. From 17-18 June, the heads of the nuclear regulatory agencies of OECD States met in Paris, France with high-level government officials and nuclear industry executives to address means of assessing the effectiveness of nuclear regulation. They discussed ways to ensure the safety of nuclear installations and reduce risks to public health and concluded that regulatory performance indicators are useful but that more attention is needed in correctly analyzing them. Also in June, a workshop organized in conjunction with the International Atomic Energy Agency further addressed issues of nuclear safety management. The NEA also conducted an international peer review of French radioactive waste management and documents regarding the feasibility of disposing of high-level, long-lived waste in deep geological forms, noting significant progress since 1991.
Finally, regarding nuclear legislation, the NEA held its third session of the International School of Nuclear Law at the University of Montpellier in France from August-September, and established a University Diploma in International Nuclear Law.
The NEA’s annual report stated that increased attention was devoted to the nuclear option in Europe and North America in 2002. A total of 362 nuclear power units were in operation in OECD Member States, providing 24 percent of electricity generated. While three new nuclear units began operating, two were retired. Seven additional units underwent construction. Major focuses of the NEA throughout the year included efforts to develop new nuclear systems through the Generation IV International Forum Technology Roadmap and the study of regulatory issues involved in decommissioning nuclear reactors and of indicators of nuclear safety and regulatory effectiveness and maintaining nuclear safety competence. The annual report also described the NEA’s consideration of ways to improve radiological protection in cooperation with the International Commission on Radiological Protection during 2002. Regarding performance indicators for the year, it noted that nuclear power plant safety had remained good, though imperfect, and that there was evidence of improved radioactive waste management and progress in implementing procedures for spent nuclear fuel and highly radioactive waste disposal.
On 13 June, the OECD Council approved the membership of the Slovak Republic in the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and its Data Bank. The Slovak Republic became a Member of the OECD on 14 December 2000.
An international gathering of high-level executives from nuclear regulatory organizations and nuclear utilities met on 18-19 June in Paris, France to foster a constructive dialogue between regulators and operators of nuclear installations in a number of key areas, including market competition, asset management, and the measurement and communication of safety performance. The International Forum on Nuclear Regulator/Licensee Interface Issues was jointly organized by the NEA and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). Approximately 100 participants from over 20 countries attended.
In its annual report, the NEA noted that several substantive developments in the nuclear field, taken in the wider context of energy and the environment, helped make 2001 a pivotal year in the development of nuclear energy at the international level. Several Member countries reviewed their energy policies, including Belgium, Finland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, the European Commission issued a Green Paper on security of the energy supply. The role of nuclear energy was closely examined on this occasion.
At the end of 2001, 360 nuclear power units were connected to the grid in OECD countries, generating approximately 24 percent of total electricity supply. Eleven units were under construction: one in the Czech Republic, four in Japan, four in Korea, and two in the Slovak Republic. Plant lifetime extensions were authorized or being planned in several countries. In the upcoming decade, total electricity generation in the OECD area was projected to increase.
In the field of radiation protection, the report noted that the most significant challenge at hand was to better integrate radiation protection within current approaches to risk governance. International principles of radiation protection were therefore in the process of being reviewed. The NEA contributed to this effort by producing a discussion document addressing several specific areas in which the system of radiological protection could be adjusted to better meet governmental and social needs.
In the field of radioactive waste management, important steps took place in 2001 in a number of OECD countries, among them Finland, Sweden, the United States, Canada, and Germany in respect to geologic disposal programs. The NEA focused its attention on policy issues and public confidence in this field. Another focus for the NEA in this field was the need for establishing and communicating technical confidence in the safety of deep geologic disposal. A study on this topic was finalized for publication. Finally, an international peer review was organized by the NEA, in co-operation with the IAEA, of the US Department of Energy’s performance assessment concerning the proposed site of Yucca Mountain (Nevada) for an underground repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste.
The NEA conducted 16 main workshops and seminars throughout the year. These meetings took place in various countries and covered such subjects as the safety of the nuclear fuel cycle, pyrochemical separations, nuclear regulators and the public, etc.
In its annual report, the NEA noted that 359 nuclear power units were in operation in OECD countries, providing approximately 24 percent of the supply of electricity. Three units were shut down in 2000: one in Germany and two in the United Kingdom. Twelve units were under construction: two in the Czech Republic, four in Japan, four in the Republic of Korea, and two in the Slovak Republic. The deregulation of electricity markets, privatization of the power sector, and increasing awareness of environmental issues were some of the key issues affecting nuclear power development during the year.
In its annual report, the NEA noted that the future of nuclear energy will depend on a number of technical, environmental, economic, social, and political factors. A total of 348 nuclear power units were in operation in OECD countries in 1999, providing almost one quarter of total electricity production. However, nuclear energy continued to be a subject of controversy and public debate. In two Member countries, political decisions have been taken to begin phasing out nuclear energy production.
Point of Contact
Director General: William D. Magwood, IV
Le Seine-Saint Germain
12 Boulevard des Iles
Phone: (33 1) 45 24 8200
Fax: (33 1) 45 24 11 10
Telex: OCDE 620 160 F
Central Mailbox: email@example.com
The NEA is a specialized agency within OECD whose objective is to assist Member countries in maintaining and developing nuclear energy as a safe, environmentally acceptable, and economical energy source.