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Workshop on Nuclear Industry New Build/New Entrants – Security Considerations

17-18 Jun 2020 Vienna, Austria
Workshop on Nuclear Industry New Build/New Entrants – Security Considerations

As at: March 11, 2020.

In light of the global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are reviewing the next steps for this workshop. Like many other organisations, we are monitoring the conditions and consulting with our partners to determine any necessary adjustments. We will provide updates as decisions are made. Please check this page to see the latest information about this workshop.

Background

Nuclear power currently produces about 10% of the world’s electricity with reactors operating in 31 countries. Some of these countries have used nuclear power for many decades, others are relatively new entrants to the technology, and a third set of countries are considering using nuclear power for the first time. In some countries, nuclear power plants are having their operational life extended (sometimes to as much as 80 years), in others major newbuild programmes are using domestic technology, and a third set of countries are considering importing both the technology and the means to construct and operate the plants as a “turnkey contract.”

In 2012, the IAEA published a specific safety guide that provides a roadmap for the deployment of reactors in “new entrant” countries, identifying the key safety milestones that need to be considered in each of the decision-making and implementation phases. The guide notes:

“The Milestones Approach enables a sound development process for a nuclear power programme. It is a phased comprehensive method to assist countries that are considering or planning their first nuclear power plant. Experience suggests that the time from the initial consideration of the nuclear power option by a country to the operation of its first nuclear power plant is about 10-15 years. The aim is to help Member States understand the commitments and obligations associated with developing a nuclear power programme. Countries that already have nuclear power can assess their preparedness for expansion.”

IAEA Nuclear Security Series No. 19 provides guidance on the actions to be taken by a State in implementing effective nuclear security infrastructure for a nuclear power programme.

More recently, in December 2019, three of the organisations on the International Safety and Reliability Steering Committee – comprising the IAEA, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) – published a new white paper titled “Nuclear Industry New Build/ New Entrants.” The paper provides important guidance on nuclear safety and reliability but omits any reference to nuclear security planning and provisions.

Some questions that need to be addressed are then:

  • Does the importation and construction/commissioning/operation of a nuclear reactor in a new entrant country pose any challenges for the security regime in whose country the reactor is built? What are the roles and responsibilities of the licensee, the security regulator and national security organisations?
  • How is the responsibility for radioactive waste including irradiated fuel determined between the technology provider and the host country? How will interim radioactive waste including irradiated fuel be stored and protected?
  • Does the country have a clear understanding of its energy needs, the potential role, appropriateness and viability of nuclear power in its long-term energy plan and in the context of its national and socioeconomic development?
  • Are there any implications for the technology supplier in these turnkey contracts – such as the interface with the national authorities, including regulators and security response agencies?
  • How might issues of language, legal liability for security, and governance arrangements be impacted by this approach to developing new nuclear capacity?
  • Who takes overall responsibility for the management of foreign subcontractors from a security perspective?

Of course, the answers to these questions will depend on the specific circumstances and the States involved, but it is highly likely that significant security issues will arise without the necessary guidance and planning – and learning from the experience of other countries. WINS believes that many of the issues, in common with nuclear safety, can be identified in advance and agreements reached on roles and responsibilities between the various State parties (and the operator) – one difference with nuclear safety is that the nuclear security arrangements may well involve multiple stakeholders to support the legal responsibilities of the operator.

Purpose

The purpose of this workshop is to review and discuss all non-classified security matters related to establishing the nuclear security programme for countries embarking into nuclear power:

  • How are security responsibilities split between the technology provider and the host country?
  • What are the main challenges and opportunities when establishing a full nuclear security infrastructure, including a legal, regulatory and institutional framework and a national nuclear security strategy?
  • What is the role of the nuclear power plant owners/operators?
  • What has worked well and what has been less successful when implementing turnkey projects instead of domestic national solutions in terms of security?
  • What are the main advantages of security by design? What are the requirements to effectively apply security by design?
  • What interfaces does security have with other disciplines? What are the best practices to address an integrated approach to security and its interfaces with safety?
  • What are the most appropriate mechanisms to effectively integrate a nuclear power station into an existing critical infrastructures protection regime?
  • What are the main security requirements for the transport and storage of fresh and irradiated fuel that must be established at an early stage?
  • What are the key human resources arrangements for nuclear security that need to be developed?
  • What are the implications for stakeholder engagement and communications within the State in terms of security? How can newcomers benefit from international cooperation and assistance?

Workshop Process

This two-day workshop will bring together international experts and leading thinkers including subject matter experts on developing and implementing effective nuclear security programmes for new build/new entrants. To ensure that participants benefit from the exchange of best practice in different countries, we will invite approximately 40 participants. Attendees will need to meet their own costs for travel and accommodation, but WINS will cover the workshop costs. No registration fee is required.

We welcome applications from the following experts and organisations:

  • Government leaders: local and national
  • Nuclear power plant owners/operators
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Policy makers
  • Security managers from the nuclear industry
  • NPPs manufacturers/developers
  • Academics/researchers
  • Law enforcement organisations
  • International organisations

The framework for this interactive, professionally facilitated workshop will consist of presentations, plenary and group discussions. It will be conducted in English and draw only on unclassified information. Based on the workshop’s findings, WINS will produce a report highlighting the key findings of the event.

For more Information

Please contact:
Ms. Bettina Lock (WINS)
Bettina.lock@wins.org

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