IAE, IAEA warn that climate challenge would be much harder without nuclear

Birol

Grossi

“Given the scale and urgency of the climate challenge, we do not have the luxury of excluding nuclear from the tools at our disposal,” the leaders of the International Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote in an op-ed article posted on the CNN website last Friday.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the IAE, and Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the IAEA, said that the COVID-19 crisis not only delivered an unprecedented shock to the world economy, it also underscored the scale of the climate challenge the world faces: Even in the current deep recession, global carbon emissions remain unsustainable.

Security equipment repository for Asia-Pacific region established

During a virtual meeting between the Atomic Energy Licensing Board of Malaysia, Japan’s Permanent Mission in Vienna, and the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, an agreement was signed to establish a pool of nuclear security equipment, including items pictured here, in Malaysia. Photo: I. Pletukhina/IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency has joined with Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to establish a pool of radiation detection equipment available for loan to support nuclear security training and detection capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, the IAEA announced October 7

This is the first such repository facilitated by the IAEA. The equipment was purchased with Japan’s contribution to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund.

Two African nations join safety and security treaties at IAEA conference

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and Teodolinda Coelho, Angola’s ambassador. Photo: IAEA


Grossi and Roger Albéric Kacou, Côte d’Ivoire’s ambassador. Photo: IAEA

Angola and Côte d’Ivoire deposited legal instruments with the International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this week, expressing their consent to be bound by treaties designed to strengthen nuclear safety and security.

On the sidelines of the IAEA’s 64th General Conference, Angola joined the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), as well as the latter’s 2005 amendment, while Côte d’Ivoire joined the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.

Representing Angola and Côte d’Ivoire at the September 21 event were their respective ambassadors to Austria: Teodolinda Coelho and Roger Albéric Kacou.

NNSA assists in removal of HEU from Kazakhstan

The last remaining batch of unirradiated high-enriched uranium in Kazakhstan has been eliminated, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration has announced.

The action fulfills a pledge made by the United States and Kazakh governments one year ago at the 2019 International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference, according to a September 22 NNSA news release.

U.S. reactor technologies to be featured at IAEA conference

A virtual side event at the 64th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency will spotlight U.S. reactor technologies. The free event, US Reactor Technologies: Flexible Energy Security for Real-World Challenges, will be held this Thursday, September 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (EDT).

The event will highlight the capabilities of small modular reactors and other innovative reactors for addressing countries’ current needs. It will also examine anticipated challenges in the future, as well as underscore the need to act now.

The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Advanced registration is required.

IAEA kicks off annual meeting in Vienna

IAEA General Director Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks to socially distanced attendees at the agency’s 64th General Conference plenary session on September 21. Photo: D. Calma/IAEA

With special precautions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Atomic Energy Agency commenced its week-long 64th General Conference yesterday with a plenary session that included remarks from Rafael Mariano Grossi, the agency’s director general.

“The latest IAEA annual projections show that nuclear power will continue to play a key role in the world’s low-carbon energy mix, with global nuclear electrical capacity seen nearly doubling by 2050 in our high-case scenario,” Grossi said, referring to a recently released agency report. “Climate change mitigation remains a key potential driver for maintaining and expanding the use of nuclear power.”

The IAEA conference runs through September 25.

Aging management at Ringhals-3 has improved

A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency have completed a review of the long-term operational safety of Unit 3 at Sweden’s Ringhals nuclear power plant, noting substantial improvements from a previous agency visit in 2018.

The review, which had been requested by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), the Nordic nation’s nuclear regulator, wrapped up September 18.

According to the IAEA, the Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (SALTO) team focused on aspects essential to the safe long-term operation (LTO) of Unit 3—a 1,062-MWe three-loop pressurized water reactor that entered commercial operation in September 1981. (Ringhals houses two additional operating reactors: Unit 1, an 881-MWe boiling water reactor that began operation in January 1976, and Unit 4, an 1,102-MWe PWR that started up in November 1983. Another unit, Ringhals-2, was permanently shut down at the end of last year.)

The original design lifetime of Unit 3 will expire next year, but Vattenfall AB, the plant operator, is planning to extend operation for a total operational lifetime of 60 years.

IAEA: Nuclear to continue to play key role in low-carbon energy production

The International Atomic Energy Agency has just released its latest projections for energy, electricity, and nuclear power trends over the next 30 years. Compared with the previous year, the new projections are largely unchanged.

In the report's high-case scenario, the IAEA expects a rise in global nuclear electrical generating capacity of 82 percent, to 715 gigawatts. In the low-case scenario, that capacity is expected to drop 7 percent, to 363 gigawatts.

The report is titled Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050.

ANS’s Bilbao y León picked to lead World Nuclear Association

Bilbao y León

ANS member Sama Bilbao y León, currently head of the Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, will succeed Agneta Rising as the World Nuclear Association’s director general, the WNA announced this morning.

Rising, who took the reins of the WNA in January 2013, is the former vice president, environment, at Vattenfall AB; cofounder and former president of Women in Nuclear; and former president of both the European Nuclear Society and Swedish Nuclear Society. The WNA said that she is stepping down at the end of October “to move to new endeavors.” Rising will continue as director general until the end of October, with Bilbao y León serving as “director general in waiting” beginning October 5.

IAEA Director General reports to agency's board

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi delivering his opening statement to the IAEA Board of Governors. Photo: D. Calma/IAEA

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, delivered a statement on September 14 to the agency’s Board of Governors during a meeting in Vienna, Austria.

Grossi briefed Member States on nuclear verification and monitoring in Iran. He explained that he had met with President Rouhani during a visit to Iran and that they had reached agreement on the resolution of the safeguards implementation issues raised by the IAEA.

Senators press Trump for answers on Saudi nuclear capabilities

Van Hollen

Amid news stories of possible undeclared nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia and China's involvement with them (see here and here, for instance), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) on August 19 led a bipartisan group of senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump requesting more information on the matter.

Cosigners included Sens. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), Susan Collins (R., Maine), Tim Kaine (D., Va.), and Jerry Moran (R., Kan.).

Regulator releases report on Flamanville-3 pre-operational safety

The Flamanville nuclear plant. Photo: EDF

The French nuclear safety authority, Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has released an International Atomic Energy Agency report on a pre-operational safety review team (pre-OSART) mission conducted in 2019 at the Flamanville nuclear plant to review the safety status of its Unit 3 EPR reactor, currently under construction.

According to the report, the pre-OSART mission at Flamanville-3 reviewed the following areas: leadership and management for safety, training and qualification, operations, maintenance, technical support, operating experience feedback, radiation protection, chemistry, emergency preparedness and response, accident management, human-technology-organization interaction, and commissioning. The review was performed by a team from Canada, Finland, Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States, along with IAEA staff members and observers from Russia and South Korea.

DFC drops prohibition on nuclear project financing

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has lifted its ban on financing nuclear power projects abroad. Last month, the DFC proposed the change to its Environmental and Social Policy and Procedures, which had specifically prohibited it from offering such support.

The change, announced by the DFC on July 23, also implements a key recommendation made in an April 2020 report issued by the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group, an interagency initiative to review and modernize U.S. nuclear energy policy.

Irradiation helps Mauritius develop heat-tolerant tomato varieties

The country of Mauritius is using nuclear technology to develop new tomato varieties that can thrive in hotter temperatures. The new high-yielding and heat-tolerant tomato seeds have been distributed to the country’s farmers, helping to protect a national industry valued at US$14 million annually, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on July 15.

The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), assisted the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (FAREI) in Mauritius to develop new tomato varieties using irradiation.

Operating license renewed for Laguna Verde-1

Mexico’s Laguna Verde nuclear power plant. Photo: HFStudios

Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (SENER) announced on July 17 that it has approved the renewal of the operating license for Unit 1 at Laguna Verde, the country’s only nuclear power plant.

Laguna Verde is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in the state of Veracruz. Unit 1 is a General Electric–supplied 777-MWe BWR-5 boiling water reactor that began commercial operation 30 years ago this month. Its near-twin Unit 2, rated at 775 MWe, first came on line in April 1995.

IAEA teams with Japanese university on boron neutron capture therapy R&D

The accelerator-based BNCT system under construction at Nagoya University, shows the electrostatic proton accelerator (on the left) and beam transport line toward the neutron production target (on the right). Photo: Nagoya University

The International Atomic Energy Agency has signed an agreement with Japan’s Okayama University that provides a three-year framework for enhanced cooperation in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), the IAEA announced on June 24. BNCT is a noninvasive therapeutic technique for treating invasive malignant tumors.

Nuclear power stats for 2019 now available

The International Atomic Energy Agency has released nuclear power status data for 2019 collected by the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS), the IAEA’s comprehensive nuclear power database. Developed and maintained by the IAEA for more than five decades, PRIS contains historical and current quantitative information on reactors in operation and under construction, as well as on units undergoing decommissioning.

IAEA seeks source of radioisotopes detected over Northern Europe

The International Atomic Energy Agency has emphasized that elevated concentrations of cesium-134, cesium-137, and ruthenium-103 recently detected over Northern Europe pose no risk to human health or the environment, even as the agency continues to investigate their origin.

Elettra designated an IAEA collaborating center

A collaborating center agreement was signed by Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste and the International Atomic Energy Agency in May. The agreement focuses on advanced light sources and will support countries in research, development, and capacity building in the application of advanced and innovative radiation technologies.

IAEA COVID-19 project draws more than $28 million in funding

A health worker at the IAEA Seibersdorf Laboratories in Austria packs a COVID-19 support equipment package, which includes personal protective equipment, PCR machines, reagents, and laboratory consumables. Photo: D. Calma/IAEA

An initiative by the International Atomic Energy Agency to help nearly 120 countries contain the COVID-19 pandemic has received a financial boost from member states and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.

The IAEA announced on May 13 that Takeda, a biopharmaceutical company based in Tokyo, donated 500 million yen (about US$4.7 million). Two days earlier, the IAEA announced that pledges from more than 10 member nations totaled €22 million (about US$23.8 million).