World Nuclear Association Blog

WNA Survey on Nuclear New Build and Licensing/Permitting

(Working Groups, Member Companies) Permanent link

Two WNA Working Groups – Nuclear Law & Contracting and CORDEL – are cooperating to identify best practises in licensing and permitting for nuclear new build. The Joint Task Force on Licensing & Permitting has devised a survey to collect industry views on the relationship between nuclear new build projects and licensing/permitting processes. The survey focuses on the interaction between regulatory processes and the industry's commercial activities relating to new build, such as scheduling, procurement, contracting and finance. 

WNA will be providing further details about this survey to our member company principle representatives. If you are involved in nuclear new build projects – whether from the vantage of a utility, supplier, advisor, financier, or otherwise – we would welcome your participation in this survey and your perspective and insight as we seek to streamline the new build process. If you are interested in participating in the survey, please contact

CORDEL launches new harmonisation pilot project

(Working Groups) Permanent link

The CORDEL Working Group has launched a Pilot Project on harmonisation of mechanical codes and standards in two areas of priority:

  1. The stress allowables and analysis methods used in the design of pressure equipment
  2. Qualifications of welding and NDE/T operators.

The pilot project is to be run in agreement with the Standards Developing Organisations (SDOs) and Regulators (MDEP CSWG members).

WNA member companies wishing to support this initiative are invited to nominate experts to help with delivering the scope of the Pilot Project.

If your company is in a position to contribute, please contact CORDEL secretariat, further information is on the WNA Member's website.

CORDEL advances international standardization goals

(Working Groups) Permanent link

The Co-operation in Reactor Design Evaluation and Licensing (CORDEL) Working Group is continuing to advance its goals of international standardization of nuclear reactor designs and is currently working on developing new reports on industry’s best practices, for example in the area of licensing and on the allocation of vendor-operator responsibilities for managing design changes during operation. A new Pilot Project on harmonization of mechanical codes and standards has started and members’ input is urgently required.

One of the main purposes of CORDEL remains to be representation of the industry vis-a-vis regulatory initiatives, primarily the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP is a group of regulators of 10 countries which are engaged in design reviews for new nuclear build). Representatives from CORDEL led a special discussion session on industry initiatives and standardization at the MDEP conference 15-16 September in Paris where over 120 nuclear regulatory and industry experts met to discuss impressive accomplishments of the MDEP and the future of global nuclear safety.

There are currently five active Task Forces in CORDEL where WNA members are welcome to join in: 

  • IAEA nuclear safety standards: continuous participation in revision of nuclear reactor design related safety standards. 
  • Design Change Management Task Force (TF): developing institutional mechanisms in the industry to enable compliance with standardization throughout standard fleet’s lifetime 
  • Standards and codes TF: cooperation with SDOs of various countries in convergence of industry codes
  • Probabilistic safety goals TF: promotion of harmonization of industry’s methodologies and values 
  • Licensing and permitting TF: industry interests – efficiency & risks reduction; also in support of emerging markets (this is a joint CORDEL-NLC WGs task force).


Only two weeks until WNA Symposium 2011

(Working Groups, Conferences) Permanent link

36th Annual Symposium banner  

There is only a fortnight until the 36th WNA Annual Symposium. A world-class programme is now online, as well as abstracts of the presentations. It isn't too late to register. WNA member company delagates also wishing to attend working group meetings should also register for those, more details from the WNA Members website.

Coming up shortly after that is the 2nd China International Nuclear Symposium, being held in Hong Kong. More details here.   

New WNA group to look at fuel technologies

(Working Groups, Staff) Permanent link

Over the last few decades the nuclear industry has made significant improvements in the reliability of zirconium-clad uranium dioxide ceramic fuel, but the essential structure and composition of nuclear fuel has barely changed. Various features have boosted the mechanical and corrosion performance of fuel assemblies, but there has been little incentive to develop fuels with higher burn-up or power density. This is due in part to the focus on reliability improvements – but is also because uranium was very cheap for a long period.

This situation is changing. While Zr-clad uranium oxide fuel offers reliable and cost-effective operating characteristics, several imperatives urge nuclear fuel improvements in terms of:

Utilization of mined uranium: there is a push to improve the sustainability credentials for uranium use, in terms of energy extraction from the original mined material.
Maximizing operational power rating: leading to plant efficiencies and economic benefits.
Minimizing spent fuel volume & radiotoxicity: The transmutation (destruction) of transuranic elements within new fuels may provide cost-effective options for dealing with these materials.
Further improving materials reliability and safety margins: lowering the risk of fuel failure (cladding breach) is always beneficial for reactor operators.

With these motivations in mind, the WNA is starting up a new Working Group to discuss and assess the range of water-reactor fuel technologies with reasonable prospects for commercialization, including: ceramic claddings, higher conductivity ceramic matrices, graphite-matrix coated-particle fuel pellets.

The Group will collate and assess these technologies in terms of potential cost savings, waste management benefits, and will identify licensing pathways and potential funding partnerships.

Julian F. Kelly recently joined WNA to take responsibility for this exciting initiative.

Julian has a materials science background (PhD - Australian National University) and for the last 3.5 years he worked for a small Norwegian energy technology company that has undertaken to develop a thorium-MOX fuel for light water reactors. He oversaw the design of a sophisticated trial irradiation experiment for this fuel, and he formulated investment strategies and major funding proposals for this advanced fuel. Julian previously served as Nuclear Counsellor/Attaché at the Australian Embassy in Vienna where he followed numerous technical issues/programs at the IAEA for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Julian has also worked as a scientific advisor for nuclear issues for the Australian Department of Defence, and he has worked in the Australian mining sector prior to that.

WNA's Greg Kaser to support member companies in developing robust supply chains

(Working Groups, Staff) Permanent link

In anticipation of an epoch of worldwide nuclear new build, WNA is devoting increased attention to supporting companies and investors in the task of constructing robust supply chains to ensure timely and efficient construction of nuclear power plants. The Supply Chain Working Group was set up in 2010 and has met three times since, in London, Beijing and Chicago. With a full agenda and the aim of publishing a market report on the global nuclear market, Greg Kaser was recruited in April 2011 to manage this initiative.

Greg KaserGreg started his career with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, working at the Risley nuclear establishment near Warrington, at Sellafield, and at the then fast reactor site of Dounreay in Scotland. Following a short placement at the European University Institute near Florence in 1987-88, during which he undertook research on the international regulation of employee safety in the nuclear industry, Greg moved into consultancy. Focussing on economic and social development, Greg undertook assignments for the European Commission, the UK Department for International Development and the Department of Trade and Industry, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Over the last ten years, Greg acted as project director for part of the UK’s Global Threat Reduction Programme aimed at helping develop alternative employment in Russia’s closed nuclear cities.

Greg is looking to meet many of the main nuclear component suppliers over the coming months. "The industry is addressing its offer so as to position itself competitively," Greg told WNA Update. "Utilities and suppliers are investing in advanced and emerging economies to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. WNA is analysing the market potential for nuclear new build and major reactor refurbishment and upgrading. We aim to develop the knowledge base on the situation in leading markets, including licensing and policy requirements (for example, on the localization of supply). We are taking a look at market trends in standardization, modularization, procurement arrangements and financing models. Managing the supply chain to ensure quality, conformity and value is crucial to reducing perceptions of nuclear power as a risk-laden option within the investment and public policy communities."

Uranium Mining Standardization Working Group Launches

(Working Groups) Permanent link

A new working group has been set up by a core group of uranium mine operators to work on a specially funded 3-year work program. The Uranium Mining Standardization Working Group will work on three projects:

Project One: Provide industry leadership associated with the risks of radon in uranium mining, through the following steps:

(a) Develop a protocol for determining dosimetric parameters for practical implementation in uranium mining;
(b) Review epidemiological studies to help ensure that industry understands underlying issues and remains abreast of scientific developments;
(c) Engage with IAEA, ICRP and other organizations to collaborate and cooperate in the development of a practical radon standard.

Project Two: Achieve widespread agreement on indicators that demonstrate adherence to strong sustainable development performance.  This project will bring together major nuclear utilities and mine operators to cooperate on standardization of routine reporting on sustainable development performance. The aim is to produce a valuable, internationally credible source of information that helps nuclear utilities in interacting with stakeholders on uranium supply.

Project Three: Promote universal adherence to the WNA policy document on uranium mining standards through communication with stakeholders and promoting the use of common indicators to encourage compliance. 

The group was officially launched in April 2011. It will be co-chaired by Brent Berg (Cameco) and Frank Harris (Rio Tinto). The staff director of the working group is Sylvain Saint-Pierre.