U.S. participation in the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), a specialized, semi-autonomous agency of the OECD, helps maintain and enhance the scientific, technological and legal basis required for the safe, environmentally-friendly and economic use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
We were delighted that on September 1, 2014, American Mr. William D. Magwood, IV took up his duties as the new NEA Director-General.
The NEA’s current membership consists of 31 countries in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. The NEA brings together the world’s best nuclear expertise among developed countries, representing 90 percent of the world’s installed nuclear capacity. With just 108 professional, project, and support staff, NEA manages 7 standing technical committees, 68 working parties and expert groups, 21 international joint projects funded by participants, and some 30 publications a year on average.
NEA is as a forum for sharing information and experience and promoting international cooperation; a center of excellence which helps member countries to pool and maintain their technical expertise; and a vehicle for facilitating policy analyses and developing consensus on technical goals. The NEA is an important research and development arm for furthering advances in nuclear technology, safety, and science through leveraged international cooperation.
The U.S. Government has been a very active member of the NEA due to shared mutual interests – such as in projects and activities relating to nuclear technology and science, regulation, safety, security, and radiation protection and waste management, to name a few. U.S. delegates maintain active roles in NEA committees and working groups and derive benefit from the international dialogue. Technical delegates hail almost primarily from the Department of Energy and its national laboratories and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Three ongoing programs of particular interest to the United States include: the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) – a technology forum, the Multinational Design Evaluation Program (MDEP) – a regulatory-focused forum and the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) – a forum for cooperation. The NEA provides the Technical Secretariat for these three programs, which had their early origins in the United States.
The NEA is helping to address other U.S. interests:
- The NEA created a global task force to address a looming crisis regarding the supply of medical radioisotopes which account for approximately two‐thirds of all diagnostic medical isotope procedures. Americans rely on the crucial treatments for approximately 16 million life-saving medical procedures annually.
- The NEA continues to evaluate the lessons learned from Fukushima, including safety research and study of accident progression.
- The United States is working closely with the NEA to prepare for nuclear emergency response and management of radiological emergencies (INEX-5).
- The NEA is enhancing nuclear science/data bank products and services, particularly the creation of high quality benchmark experimental data to support the validation of computer models.
As the work is always evolving to stay current and relevant, this list changes constantly.