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[en] The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak poses a serious public health risk. To date, the disease has affected almost all countries in the world. The enormous scale of the outbreak and the relative lack of knowledge and information regarding a new virus, as well as the unpredictability of events, make it challenging for leadership teams to respond. This paper shares how we have reconfigured our radiology leadership team into a smaller disease outbreak task force (DOTF) to respond and coordinate all related efforts during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The DOTF format is modelled after the military with domain groups looking at manpower, intelligence, operations, and logistics matters on a daily basis so that timely decisions can be made and action plans executed promptly. In managing the DOTF, discipline, flexibility, and teamwork are key principles, and these are built upon a strong foundation of focus on infection prevention and control, and patient and staff safety as well as staff well-being. The DOTF has positioned us well to confront the many challenges to date. We believe it will also help us navigate the complex issues that will arise with future surges in cases and in formulating strategies to manage exit from the present and future lockdowns.
[en] The CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) evaluates the safety performance of nuclear power plant (NPP) licensees and prepares an annual report on their safety performance referred to as the Regulatory Oversight Report, which is presented to the Commission and is subsequently published on the CNSC web page. Prior to 2017, the report was referred to as the Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian NPPs. However, in 2017, the report was expanded to include the safety performance evaluation of waste management facilities located at NPP sites. The report has been renamed as the Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Generating Sites. The CNSC evaluates how well licensees meet regulatory requirements and CNSC expectations for the performance of programmes in 14 safety and control areas (SCAs) that are grouped in accordance with their functional areas of management, facility and equipment, or core control processes. These SCAs are further divided into 71 specific areas that define the key components of the SCA. The functional areas, SCAs and the specific areas that are used in CNSC’s safety performance evaluation are presented. An example of safety performance ratings for Canadian NPPs is given. An example of a conclusion of a CNSC Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Generating Sites is as follows: The evaluations of all findings for the SCAs show that, overall, NPP licensees made adequate provisions for the protection of health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment from the use of nuclear energy, and took the necessary measures to implement Canada’s international obligations.
[en] Several countries are planning their first/new research reactor as a key national facility for the development of their nuclear science and technology programmes, including nuclear power. The introduction of a new research reactor in a country requires the establishment of an adequate national infrastructure, covering a wide range of technical areas. This paper briefly describes certain special characteristics of a nuclear power programme which need to be kept in mind by government planners and policy makers before any country embarks on a nuclear energy programme. It also briefly describes the infrastructure and institutions that are required to be built for sustenance of a nuclear energy programme. In the end, it also describes India’s nuclear energy programme. (author)
[en] In 2018, EDF operated a standardized fleet in France: 58 pressurized water reactors from one vendor and one licence through the 900 MW series (34 reactors); the 1300 MW series (20 reactors); and the 1450 MW series (4 reactors). In total, 75% of the fleet was built between 1979 and 1990, the oldest reactor is 40 years old and the average age of the fleet is 30 years. Thus, LTO programmes and plant life management have been key issues for years.The principles of asset management as mentioned in ISO55000:20141 are implemented in EDF processes, from strategic levels to working levels. If the main goals are shared inside the company, the nuclear operating branch is organized following several programmes (e.g.ageing management, obsolescence, maintenance and optimization, refurbishment for major components) and projects (e.g. periodic safety reviews, post Fukushima improvements) that are quite autonomous to contribute in maintaining or improving the value of the assets.
[en] The worldwide comparison of stable 15N and 13C isotope measurements provides confidence in the analytical performance of stable isotope laboratories and hence an important tool for external quality control. The 2020 Proficiency Test (PT) on 15N and 13C isotopic abundance in plant materials, organized by the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands, and funded by the SWMCN Laboratory has been successfully completed. The Wageningen Evaluating Programs for Analytical Laboratories (WEPAL, http://www.wepal.nl) is accredited for the organization of Inter-Laboratory Studies by the Dutch Accreditation Council. Every year, one FAO/IAEA 15N-enriched and three not 15N-enriched test samples are included in one round of the WEPAL IPE (International Plant-Analytical Exchange) programme. A special evaluation report for IAEA participants on the analytical performance in stable isotope analysis is issued by the SWMCN Laboratory and sent to the participants together with a certificate of participation in addition to the regular WEPAL evaluation report.
[en] This annex explains how an effective asset management programme can provide benefits both to the owner/operator and to society, as articulated through the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
[en] With the year ending, we take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements and activities of the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition (SWMCN) Subprogramme carried out in 2020 and highlight activities planned for 2021. The SWMCN Laboratory in Seibersdorf has recently moved into the new, modern Yukiya Amano Laboratories (YAL), which also hosts the Animal Production and Health, Food and Environmental Protection laboratories. You can read more on this in the Announcement section. The work of the SWMCN Laboratory continues in the laboratory, glasshouse and in the field. Many interesting activities are reported in this issue of the newsletter below. On the work on nuclear emergency affecting food and agriculture and remediation of radioactive contamination in agriculture, a new development has been made on the online decision support system DSS4NAFA, i.e. when coupled with external modelling tools, it can help with the specific decision of where/when/how to remediate, based on expert judgements and multiple stakeholders’ preferences (e.g. decision makers, farmers). In terms of remediation, some progress was also made on using midinfrared spectroscopy-based soil property prediction in combination with artificial intelligence methods. Similarly, further progress was made on the use of zeolite amendments and potassium addition for remediating radioactive contamination in agriculture. Studies carried out in the Laboratory showed that it is possible to combine the cosmic ray neutron sensing (CRNS) data with satellite imagery to provide a high resolution soil moisture map. This was tested for both temperate and semi-arid environments. In addition, a new nuclear technology, Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) was also being tested for soil moisture monitoring. The GRS has a smaller footprint of about 25 m radius, is lighter and can be mounted on a drone, facilitating suitability for small scale irrigation schemes. Two studies carried out this year by the Laboratory relating to greenhouse gas emission were on the influence of different nitrogen process inhibitors on crop production and the influence of biochar on nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from vermicompost. The Laboratory was able to conduct one in-person training course, which was FAO-funded, on mathematical processing of Mid-Infrared Spectral datasets. The training was successfully held in the Seibersdorf YAL and attended by staff from all FAO/IAEA Laboratories in Seibersdorf. We are grateful to FAO in Rome HQ for having funded this annual training event. In the meantime, the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) project on ‘Enhancing climate change adaptation and disease resilience in banana-coffee cropping systems in East Africa’ (started in 2019) has been extended for three years, during which two additional PhD studies will focus on coffee. PhD work will be on drought stress - to build on results already obtained - as well as coffee diseases. Both drought and diseases are predicted to become major issues in the East African region in light of climate change. This PUI project, funded by the Belgian Government, continues to address the urgent need for an improved resilience towards climate change and contributes to creating food security in a changing world. I would like to inform readers who are analysing 15N and 13C isotopic abundance in plant materials that the SWMCN Laboratory provides free External Quality Assurance Proficiency Test. Please get in contact with us if you would like to join this annual proficiency test. This issue’s feature article came from Gabriele Baroni, our CRP D1.20.14 counterpart. The work on ‘Boosting cosmic ray neutron sensing (CRNS) method for soil moisture estimation by means of new detectors and interdisciplinary collaborations’ provides a historical account of cosmic ray neutron sensing (CRNS) plus the need for new alternative detectors. The SWMCN will be involved through the Laboratory in field testing and through CRP D1.20.14. Five Research Coordination Meetings (RCMs) are scheduled for 2021. Two of them, which were postponed from 2020, will be held virtually: 1st RCM of the new CRP D1.50.20 ‘Developing Climate Smart Agricultural Practices for Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases’ and 2nd RCM of D1.50.18 ‘Multiple Isotope Fingerprints to Identify Sources and Transport of Agro-Contaminants’. The other three RCMs for CRPs D1.20.14, D1.50.17 and D1.50.19 are scheduled for later in 2021. All professional staff continued implementing new and ongoing TC projects. With travel not possible, all meetings, training and discussions were organized virtually to ensure timely implementation of activities. Despite all the restrictions, more success stories were published in the last six months, including one story to celebrate World Soil Day on 5 December. During 2020, the Subprogramme continued to be very active in its publication activities; this includes the Springer open access book on ‘Measuring Emission of Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and Developing Mitigation Options using Nuclear and Related Techniques’ and a number of publications on sampling, analysis and modelling technologies for large scale nuclear emergencies affecting food and agriculture in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. I would like to make a preliminary announcement that our decennial event, the FAO/IAEA International Symposium, will be held in July 2022, in Vienna, Austria, focusing on land and water management for climate smart agriculture. It will be held a week before the World Congress of Soil Science, in Glasgow, UK. More information will follow in the next newsletter.
[en] An effective regulatory framework is essential to the success of a national nuclear power programme. The IAEA has developed the Milestones approach to help Member States embarking on nuclear power to understand and develop the necessary infrastructure requirements in a phased way. The regulatory framework is one of the 19 infrastructure issues that are described in the Milestones approach. The primary objective of this publication is to present the experiences of selected Member States that are in the process of building or expanding their regulatory framework for a nuclear power programme, including the challenges they faced. The publication also provides insights on IAEA safety requirements and guidance on establishing an effective regulatory framework with reference to the IAEA Safety Standards Series, the IAEA Nuclear Security Series, and IAEA Safeguards guidance publications. In addition, it demonstrates how these requirements fit into the overall development of a nuclear power programme through the IAEA Milestones approach.
[en] Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are increasingly used for the treatment of advanced heart failure. LVADs improve quality of life and decrease mortality, but the driveline carries substantial risk for major infections. These device-related LVAD and driveline infections are difficult to diagnose with conventional imaging. We reviewed and analysed the current literature on the additive value of F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) imaging for the diagnosis of LVAD-related infections.” We performed a systematic literature review using several databases from their inception until the 31st of December, 2019. Studies investigating the diagnostic performance of FDG-PET/CT in patients with suspected LVAD infection were retrieved. After a bias risk assessment using QUADAS-2, a study-aggregate meta-analysis was performed on a per examination-based analysis. A total of 10 studies were included in the systematic review, eight of which were also eligible for study-aggregate meta-analysis. For the meta-analysis, a total of 256 FDG-PET/CT scans, examining pump/pocket and/or driveline infection, were acquired in 230 patients. Pooled sensitivity of FDG-PET/CT was 0.95 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.89–0.97) and pooled specificity was 0.91 (95% CI 0.54–0.99) for the diagnosis of device-related infection. For pump/pocket infection, sensitivity and specificity of FDG-PET/CT were 0.97 (95%CI 0.69–1.00) and 0.93 (95%CI 0.64–0.99), respectively. For driveline infection, sensitivity and specificity were 0.96 (95%CI 0.88–0.99) and 0.99 (95%CI 0.13–1.00) respectively. Significant heterogeneity existed across studies for specificity, mostly caused by differences in scan procedures. Predefined criteria for suspicion of LVAD and/or driveline infection were lacking in all included studies. FDG-PET/CT is a valuable tool for assessment of device-related infection in LVAD patients, with high sensitivity and high, albeit variable, specificity. Standardization of FDG-PET/CT procedures and criteria for suspected device-related LVAD infections are needed for consistent reporting of FDG-PET/CT scans.
[en] To simulate clinical deployment, evaluate performance, and establish quality assurance of a deep learning algorithm (U-Net) for detection, localization, and segmentation of clinically significant prostate cancer (sPC), ISUP grade group ≥ 2, using bi-parametric MRI. In 2017, 284 consecutive men in active surveillance, biopsy-naïve or pre-biopsied, received targeted and extended systematic MRI/transrectal US-fusion biopsy, after examination on a single MRI scanner (3 T). A prospective adjustment scheme was evaluated comparing the performance of the Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System (PI-RADS) and U-Net using sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and the Dice coefficient. In the 259 eligible men (median 64 [IQR 61–72] years), PI-RADS had a sensitivity of 98% [106/108]/84% [91/108] with a specificity of 17% [25/151]/58% [88/151], for thresholds at ≥ 3/≥ 4 respectively. U-Net using dynamic threshold adjustment had a sensitivity of 99% [107/108]/83% [90/108] (p > 0.99/> 0.99) with a specificity of 24% [36/151]/55% [83/151] (p > 0.99/> 0.99) for probability thresholds d3 and d4 emulating PI-RADS ≥ 3 and ≥ 4 decisions respectively, not statistically different from PI-RADS. Co-occurrence of a radiological PI-RADS ≥ 4 examination and U-Net ≥ d3 assessment significantly improved the positive predictive value from 59 to 63% (p = 0.03), on a per-patient basis. U-Net has similar performance to PI-RADS in simulated continued clinical use. Regular quality assurance should be implemented to ensure desired performance.