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[en] This publication summarizes the results of an IAEA technical meeting to review and discuss the analysis, simulation, and modelling of severe accident progression in spent fuel pools. The emphasis was on achieving a better understanding of drivers for improvement to address risks associated with accidents in spent fuel pools, progression to failure of the spent fuel, and the subsequent release of fission products. Discussion sessions enabled the exchange of information regarding the analysis of severe accidents in spent fuel pools, the provision of an overview of current research and development (R&D) activities, and considerations for the planning and execution of further R&D. The meeting served as a forum for Member States to exchange knowledge on current and new code development and methodologies, to identify the gaps for future improvements, and gather information for collaboration on all these aspects.
[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] Since the Fukushima Daiichi accident, increased attention has been paid to the vulnerability of the Spent Fuel Pools (SFP). This vulnerability is a concern for SFPs safety because generally the fuel clad is the sole barrier against fission product release in case of dewatering. Also, the potential source term is several times the one present in the reactor vessel. For example, French SFPs can harbour up to 2.5 times the number of fuel assemblies present in the core of a 900 MW(e) reactor. The IAEA “International Experts Meeting on Strengthening Research and Development Effectiveness in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant”, held in Vienna in 2015, concluded that one priority is to investigate SFP loss of coolant and loss of cooling accidents. The OECD/NEA edited a Status Report on Spent Fuel Pools under Loss-of-Cooling and Loss-of-Coolant Accident Conditions and afterward gathered and expert group to establish a Phenomena Identification and Ranking Table on Spent Fuel Pools under Loss-of-Cooling and Loss-of-Coolant Accident Conditions. Several R&D programs dealing with SFP accidents were carried out. This PIRT concluded to the needs of further R&D concerning SFP accidental conditions and prioritized the topics to be investigated.
[en] This 28. Annual Report of the International System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) Program presents the status of the Program for the year of 2018. As of 31 December 2018, the ISOE program included 76 Participating Licensees in 31 countries (352 operating units; 61 shutdown units; 10 units under construction), as well as 28 regulatory authorities in 26 countries. The ISOE database includes occupational exposure information for 500 units, covering over 85% of the world's operating commercial power reactors. This report includes a global occupational exposure data and analysis collected and accomplished in the year of 2018, information on the Program events and achievements as well as principle events in participating countries
[en] On 11 March 2011, the Great Japanese Earthquake shook the Asian seabed so powerfully that it moved the main island of Japan two and a half metres to the east. As the ensuing tsunami swept across the mainland, it breached Japan’s coastal defences including the perimeter of the Fukushima Daiichi’s Nuclear Power Plant, causing the release of radionuclides. Even so, scientists have found no evidence that this radiation caused health-related effects. The accident prompted a concerted and coordinated response by the international community, which has led to a significant improvement in the safety and safety culture in the nuclear sector. Three months after the accident, the IAEA hosted a Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety and the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety was endorsed in September 2011. Nuclear engineers worldwide poured over their reactors analysing and upgrading equipment. They shared their knowledge and findings and four years later, the IAEA published its comprehensive report on the accident. It is important to recognize the progress made in nuclear safety in Japan and worldwide in the past decade. Nuclear is safer than it has ever been. Nonetheless, we cannot be complacent. I continue to emphasize the need to remain vigilant and put safety first. The 7.3-magnitude earthquake that hit Fukushima in 2021 is a reminder of the need to keep our safety focus. The stakes are even higher today, because we need nuclear power to expand if we are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
[en] A plant life management (PLiM) programme is an effective tool that allows an operator to manage ageing effects in structures, systems and components (SSCs) for long term operation of nuclear power plants. Such a programme helps facilitate decisions concerning when and how to repair, replace or modify SSCs in an economically optimized way, while assuring that the highest levels of safety are maintained. This publication is the proceedings of the fourth in a series of international conferences convened by the IAEA on nuclear power plant life management. The conference provided a forum for information exchange on national and international policies, as well as on regulatory practices, and for the demonstration of strategies, including their application in ageing management and PLiM programmes for operating and new nuclear power plants. The proceedings include the opening address, presentations of the keynote speakers, summaries of the individual technical sessions, and conclusions and recommendations of the chairperson of the conference.
[en] National nuclear institutes (NNIs) contribute significantly to national development, providing services focused on developing and applying relevant technologies for the public good. While many NNIs provide commercial services and products that generate revenue, some are financially dependent on subsidies from national governments. This publication presents the outcome of a workshop which addressed the challenges for Member States regarding self-reliance and sustainability of their NNIs. Participants discussed efforts and best practices to cope with these challenges. The publication includes positive examples of tools or measures to be used in practical projects and programmes for achieving management goals towards self-reliance and sustainability. Examples of governmental policies in support of self-reliance and sustainability of NNIs are also presented. Finally, the country presentations in this publication show some examples of how NNIs cooperate with public or private stakeholders, providing some insights on how partnership opportunities can be explored.
[en] In our opinion, the ICREM organization is a well-motivated addition to the forums already available in the field of the radiation and emission in materials. We trust this pss(a) Special Issue comprising the highlights of the ICREM2019 can be of use for a wide and cross-disciplinary research community dealing with radiation effects, as well as for the students in the field to use the papers collected herein for studies, referencing, and inspirations. We thank all the authors and co-authors of the papers submitted to this Special Issue, as well as all participants of the ICREM2019 for attending the conference. Finally, we invite to participate in the future ICREM events regularly scheduled for mid-December in Thailand. In particular, the 4th edition of the conference is scheduled for the 14–17th December 2021 to take place in Bangkok (http://icrem2021. science.cmu.ac.th/). (© 2021 Wiley‐VCH GmbH)
[en] We would like to confirm our commitment to support our Member States in improving nutrition in these difficult times. Have a look at the suggestions for conducting IAEA nutrition studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mainly working from home, we continued with our activities in the second half of 2020 and conducted meetings and training workshops in a virtual format. We have discussed progress of research projects, identified new research agendas, strengthened expertise in deuterium-based isotope techniques and established new collaborations with nutrition societies. We contributed to the Micronutrient Forum 5th Global Conference CONNECTED 2020 and to the 11th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security. Check out new publications presenting results from different IAEA-supported projects.
[en] Clinically qualified medical physicists are physicists working in healthcare who have received adequate academic postgraduate education in medical physics and relevant supervised clinical training. They work as members of multidisciplinary teams that provide services to patients in radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, and diagnostic and interventional radiology. Clinically qualified medical physicists also work in other areas where ionizing or non-ionizing radiation or physics principles are used for diagnosis and treatment of patients. Imaging and therapeutic processes, procedures and interventions are dependent on the safe and effective use of information, science and technologies, and thus require qualified professionals to ensure optimal and appropriate patient care through quality assurance and optimization. The knowledge and competencies of medical physicists are acquired through academic education and clinical training programmes that fulfil internationally defined criteria. International professional organizations recognize the need for continuing education and professional development and promote the certification of medical physicists to ensure a high standard of patient care. In 2013, the IAEA published Roles and Responsibilities, and Education and Training Requirements for Clinically Qualified Medical Physicists (IAEA Human Health Series No. 25). The publication, endorsed by the International Organization for Medical Physics and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, highlights the need for certification and registration of medical physicists as well as continuing professional development, and provides specific guidance on the establishment of a certification scheme. Only a limited number of countries currently have national medical physics certification schemes. The International Medical Physics Certification Board was formed in 2010, with the main objective of supporting the practice of medical physics through a certification programme in accordance with the International Organization for Medical Physics guidelines. Consultations with medical physics organizations and certification bodies have revealed a lack of international guidance in this area. To address this gap, in 2018 the IAEA convened a consultants’ meeting to prepare a publication highlighting the need for and benefits of medical physics certification, and providing information on the establishment of national or regional certification schemes. This publication builds on the experience and lessons learned from professional organizations and certification bodies and provides information on certification pathways in different scenarios. It is addressed to medical physics professionals and residents; medical practitioners in radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, and diagnostic and interventional radiology; health authorities and hospital administrators; and radiation protection regulatory agencies. This publication has been endorsed by the International Medical Physics Certification Board and the International Organization for Medical Physics.