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PARIS FOR USOECD: MCLAPPER STATE FOR ISN/NESS - BURKART AND CARNAHAN NE - MCGINNIS AND WELLING
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG, TRGY, KNNP, IAEA SUBJECT: IAEA: COMPLETION OF THIRD GLOBAL NUCLEAR ENERGY PARTNERSHIP (GNEP) INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT WORKING GROUP MEETING
1. This cable is for information only.
2. Summary: The GNEP Infrastructure Development Working Group (IDWG) held its third meeting on December 8, 2008, in Vienna, Austria in conjunction with a workshop on Radioactive Waste Management and a Resources and Gaps Workshop on December 9. The U.S. hosted the meeting as chair of the IDWG. All GNEP partners, candidate partners and observers (listed in Para. 3) were invited to attend. Over 70 representatives from GNEP partner countries, observer organizations and observer countries attended the meeting and workshops. Participants welcomed participation by new GNEP partners Armenia, Estonia and Morocco and new observer countries Latvia and Vietnam. At the meeting and workshops, priorities and activities for the working group's 2009 Program Plan were identified. During the Radioactive Waste Management Workshop, participants agreed to form a subgroup of the IDWG to address radioactive waste management issues. The Resources and Gaps Workshop featured speakers from government, industry and nongovernmental organizations to address human resource development in areas that included stakeholder engagement, reactor siting, legal and regulatory frameworks and the future of global human resource needs. The area of human resource development, identified by IDWG members as their main area of concern, was a main focus area of the meetings and will continue to be addressed through IDWG activities in 2009. Other areas that will continue to be covered by the IDWG in 2009 include legal and regulatory framework development, nuclear energy assessments and building the IDWG Resource Library. IDWG activities will be expanded in 2009 to address the potential use of small and medium sized reactors.
3. Background: On September 16, 2007, GNEP was formally established at a ministerial meeting in Vienna, Austria when 16 countries signed the GNEP Statement of Principles (SOP). The ministerial meeting set the GNEP structure of an Executive Committee, a Steering Group and working groups on Infrastructure Development and Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services. At its first meeting in December 2007, the Steering Group adopted Terms of Reference for the two working groups. The second GNEP Executive Committee ministerial meeting was held October 1, 2008 in Paris, France. GNEP presently consists of 25 Partners: Armenia, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Morocco, Oman, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovenia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. There are three GNEP observer organizations: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Euratom, and the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). Additionally, there are 28 countries the GNEP partners have invited to join GNEP and which may attend meetings as observers: Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. Bahrain may participate only as an observer until a comprehensive safeguards agreement is brought into force.
4. Infrastructure Development Working Group Information: The objective of the IDWG is to support the GNEP SOP objective to "expand nuclear power to help meet growing energy demand in a sustainable manner and in a way that provides safe operations of Nuclear Power Plants and management of wastes" by facilitating the
development of the infrastructure needed for worldwide expansion of clean, sustainable, nuclear energy worldwide in a safe and secure manner, while at the same time reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation. In the IDWG meetings in March and July 2008, participants discussed the foremost needs of countries developing or expanding nuclear power programs and developed a program plan that summarized partners' main infrastructure development needs and challenges and outlined IDWG activities to address those needs and challenges. This year, the IDWG created an on-line resource library to provide partners with information on infrastructure development references, programs, tools, and other resources, performed a nuclear energy feasibility study in Jordan, compiled information on countries' human resource development experience and lessons learned, developed a plan to link up with specialist organizations in the global nuclear power arena and held a Resources and Gaps Workshop.
5. Meeting Participation: All GNEP partners, candidate partners and observers were invited to send representatives to the IDWG meeting and workshops. While GNEP provides for candidate partners and observers to actively participate in meetings, only GNEP partners (countries who are signatories to the GNEP Statement of Principles) may participate in the decision-making process. Partner countries that attended the IDWG meeting were Armenia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States. Candidate partner/observer countries in attendance were Germany, Latvia, Mexico and Vietnam. The IAEA and GIF participated as observer organizations.
6. IDWG Meeting Objectives: The objectives of the IDWG meeting were to identify priorities and activities for the IDWG 2009 Program Plan. Chairman Craig Welling of the U.S. Department of Energy began the meeting with a status report of the 2008 Program Plan activities and a review of the infrastructure development discussions from the 2008 GNEP Executive Committee meeting in Paris, France on October 1, 2008. In addition, participants welcomed new GNEP partner countries Armenia, Estonia and Morocco. Representatives from these three countries presented their countries' views on the main infrastructure development needs and challenges, potential opportunities for GNEP cooperation to help address these needs and challenges and review of ongoing infrastructure activities.
7. IDWG Human Resource Development Activities: Patrice Bernard from the French Atomic Energy Commission presented an update on the IDWG activity area of human resource development which included an analysis of the results from the Human Resource Development Compilation papers provided by several IDWG countries. Among lessons learned resulting from the papers are the importance of legal frameworks with implementation of the different national bodies such as government agencies, educational institutions and industry; the importance of stakeholder and public interaction, the international dimension of nuclear energy and the sharing of experience and good practices in nuclear power plant operations, safety approaches and standards and industry partnering. Partners were encouraged to submit a paper if they have not already done so to be able to deepen the analysis and potentially develop an understanding of the broader global human resource needs for the future. Ideas discussed included the possibility of developing an international skills passport to facilitate the global mobility of
nuclear sector personnel. The IAEA suggested that a global skills assessment be created in addition to those being developed for individual countries. It was also suggested that a set of common vocabulary in the legal and regulatory areas be created which would better allow for the transfer of experience and skills from one country to another.
8. Resource Library Update: The U.S. provided a demonstration of the IDWG Resource Library including how to find and enter information on available resources. Suggestions for the next steps in building the library include continuing to expand the information available, the creation of a "blog" section, user review and ranking of the resources, and the ability to identify who provided specific Resource Library entries.
9. Nuclear Energy Feasibility Studies: Craig Welling presented information on GNEP activities in the area of supporting partner countries in assessments for potential nuclear energy programs. The assessment performed in Jordan will help improve the process that can be used for nuclear power assessments based on the IAEA Milestones. It was suggested that there be an assessment or evaluation tool created to address the preparatory process needed to reach Milestone 1, "National Position." The IAEA stated that the "Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power" and "Evaluation of the Status of National Nuclear Infrastructure Development" can be used to help countries perform self-assessments. One potential concern raised was the availability of expertise for performing these self-assessments; this was identified as one area in which GNEP could provide support. It was also noted that industry participation in assessments could be
10. Engagement with External Entities: Representatives from the United Kingdom and Generation IV International Forum presented an updated paper regarding specialist organizations relevant to IDWG activities. As a next-step they noted that it would be beneficial to invite some organizations to come to speak at the next IDWG workshop, especially individuals from those organizations most directly relevant to priorities noted in the IDWG Program Plan. These could include human resource development or the legal and regulatory development area.
11. Small and Medium Sized Reactors (SMRs): Craig Welling reviewed the status of the SMR area, first introduced by the U.S. at the May 2008 GNEP Steering Group meeting in Jordan. It was agreed that the IDWG will hold a SMR workshop on status of new designs, certification of those designs and related specific infrastructure issues.
12. Radioactive Waste Management Workshop: The United Kingdom led a GNEP Working Group workshop on Radioactive Waste Management. The objectives of this workshop were to summarize the rationale for focus in this area; to gain consensus on either creating a new working group or undertaking waste management activities as a part of the IDWG; and to identify specific activities in the area of radioactive waste management. A representative from the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) presented the rationale for creating a radioactive waste management strategy in GNEP, including building confidence among stakeholders, regulatory drivers, and creating a stronger business strategy. Some proposed activities
were human capital development, exchanging information on calculations and costing methodology, identifying and addressing research and development gaps and providing lessons learned. The UK indicated the proposed working group would address regional waste repositories but would not interfere with countries' domestic policies on radioactive waste. It was agreed by the partners that the IDWG would form a subgroup and that the first task of the subgroup will be to agree upon a list of activities. It was also determined that a formal Terms of Reference will not be necessary because radioactive waste management will be a subgroup of the IDWG. The UK suggested that each country identify an expert to participate in the subgroup.
13. Resources and Gaps Workshop: On December 9, 2008, the IDWG held a Resources and Gaps Workshop that featured experts from government, industry and educational organizations to share information on available resources and discuss ways in which GNEP partners can create, complement and/or enhance efforts to promote human resource development solutions. Focus areas of the workshop included human resource development in stakeholder engagement, reactor siting and legal and regulatory frameworks. The workshop also addressed the development of an overview picture of future global human resource development needs and how the IDWG can start to understand and potentially help address the big picture for future human resource needs. The workshop began with five partner countries, Hungary, Jordan, Estonia, Italy and Jordan, presenting an overview of their human resource needs. The first panel focused on stakeholder engagement and panelists provided examples of different approaches in this area. Participants in the second panel discussed ways to address the development of human resources in regulatory agencies
and provided examples of what some regulatory agencies are doing to address the growing need for staff with the planned expansion of nuclear power. In the panel on siting, panelists discussed the human resource needs for siting studies as well as industry efforts and the IAEA's activities and recommendations. Panels 4 and 5 focused on human resource development resources and the big picture for future human resource needs. Panelists in the fourth session provided specific examples of what their governments or companies are doing to build human resources and Panel 5 examined how GNEP partners are looking forward to understanding and developing human resources of the future and ways the IDWG could better understand global human resource needs and work together to meet these needs. At the conclusion of the meeting, IDWG Chairman Craig Welling provided a summary of the day's discussions and next steps for the IDWG.
14. Next Steps: IDWG partners agreed by consensus that the next IDWG meeting would be held in May 2009 in the United Kingdom.