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Coordinación y edición - CNEN/CIN (Brasil) con la colaboración de los países de la RRIAN - Colaborador especial - Máximo Rudelli (Argentina)

Año 6 - Nº 65 - Diciembre 2011
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Yucca Mountain: Information on Alternative Uses of the Site and Related Challenges
General Accountability Office (US), September 16, 2011, 57 p.

The future of the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada--originally designated for permanent storage of nuclear waste--is uncertain. Since 1983, the Department of Energy (DOE) has spent billions of dollars to evaluate the Yucca Mountain site for potential use as a nuclear waste repository. In February 2010, the President proposed eliminating funding for the project, and in March 2010, DOE filed a motion to withdraw its license application. Stakeholders--federal officials, state and local

government officials, private companies, and others--have expressed interest in whether the site's characteristics are suitable for alternative uses. GAO was asked to examine alternative uses for the Yucca Mountain site. This report examines: (1) the characteristics of the Yucca Mountain site; (2) stakeholders' proposed alternative uses, and experts' evaluations of them; and (3) challenges, if any, in pursuing alternative uses. We selected a nonprobability sample of experts that included experts affiliated with nationally recognized research organizations, universities, and national laboratories, and that did not represent or benefit from any of the stakeholders' proposed alternative uses of the site. Using a data collection instrument, we elicited comments from these experts on stakeholders' proposed uses. The alternative uses discussed in this report reflect the alternative uses these stakeholders proposed; they may not reflect all potential uses of the site. This report contains no recommendations. Interior generally agreed with our findings, while DOE, the U.S. Air Force, and NRC neither agreed nor disagreed The Yucca Mountain site has several geographical, structural, and geophysical characteristics that may be relevant in considering potential alternative uses. Geographically, the site spans a large land area in a remote part of Nevada and partially includes some of the lands of two adjacent highly-secure national security sites--the Air Force's Nevada Test and Training Range and DOE's Nevada National Security Site. The site's lands were historically under the control of three federal agencies: DOE, the Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of the Interior. The most notable structural features include two large tunnels--one about 5 miles long and 25 feet in diameter, and another 2 miles long that branches off of the main tunnel. Geophysically, the Yucca Mountain area is semiarid and has little surface water; is comprised of strong, very low permeability volcanic rock; and is located in an area with low levels of seismic activity. Stakeholders we contacted proposed 30 alternative uses of the Yucca Mountain site; however, there was no broad consensus regarding the benefits and challenges of these uses among the experts we consulted. The alternative uses span five broad categories: (1) nuclear or radiological uses, such as locating a nuclear reprocessing complex at or near the site; (2) defense or homeland security activities, such as testing systems to detect and identify radioactive materials; (3) information technology uses, such as secure electronic data storage; (4) energy development or storage, such as using the site for renewable energy development; and (5) scientific research, such as geology or mining research. While some experts we contacted identified benefits of the site for certain uses, experts also noted that many of these proposed uses would be costly and may face significant challenges. Several experts also noted that Yucca Mountain's characteristics would not be critical to a number of the proposed uses, and that many could be undertaken elsewhere. Alternative uses of the Yucca Mountain site face a number of legal and administrative challenges. First, DOE's withdrawal of its application to build a repository at Yucca Mountain is subject to continuing legal proceedings, and resolution of these proceedings could preclude or significantly delay alternative uses of the site. Second, potential litigation regarding mining claims may affect alternative uses of the site. Following the 2010 expiration of a land withdrawal order, 35 mining claims were recorded and processed by BLM. Although BLM declared these claims void in August 2011, their legitimacy could be litigated, which could delay or pose challenges to alternative uses of the site. Third, because control of the site is divided among three different federal agencies, potential alternative uses may face challenges related to management of the site's lands. Fourth, potential alternative uses of the site may be limited by national security activities that currently take place on adjacent lands. Fifth, as with any activity, proposed uses of the site will require the user to comply with applicable federal and state regulations.

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IAEA Fukushima Daiichi Status Report
IAEA, 2 November 2011, 8 p.

The IAEA issues regular Status Reports to the public on the current status of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, including information on environmental radiation monitoring, the status of workers and current conditions on-site at the plant.

The information cited in this Report is compiled from official Japanese sources, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and

Industry (METI), the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) through the Japanese Permanent Mission in Vienna and the Cabinet's Office of the Prime Minister. Information is also provided by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
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Special Report on the Nuclear Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPRO), November 2011, 104 p.

This report provides a narrative overview and timeline for the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on March 11, 2011. The purpose of this report is to provide an accurate, consolidated source of information regarding the sequence of events that occurred in the first days of the accident. The information contained in this report may be used for determining future U.S. and international industry corrective actions.

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Status of Computed Tomography Dosimetry for Wide Cone Beam Scanners
IAEA, 2011, 55 p.

International standardization in dosimetry is essential for the successful exploitation of radiation technology. To provide such standardization in diagnostic radiology, the IAEA published Code of Practice entitled Dosimetry in Diagnostic Radiology: An International Code of Practice (IAEA Technical Reports Series No. 457; 2007), which recommends procedures for calibration and dosimetric measurement both in standards dosimetry

laboratories, especially Secondary Standards Dosimetry Laboratories (SSDLs), and in clinical centres for radiology, as found in most hospitals. These standards address the main dosimetric methodologies needed in clinical diagnostic radiology, with the calibration of associated dosimetric equipment, including the measurement methodologies for computed tomography
(CT). For some time now there has been a growing awareness that radiation dose originating from medical diagnostic procedures in radiology, is contributing an increasing proportion to the total population dose, with a large component coming from CT examinations. This is accompanied by rapid developments in CT technology, including the use of increasingly wide X ray scanning beams, which are presenting problems in dosimetry that currently cannot be adequately addressed by existing standards. This situation has received attention from a number of professional bodies, and institutions have proposed and are investigating new and
adapted dosimetric models in order to find robust solutions.
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Evaluations complémentaires de sûreté post-Fukushima: comportement des installations nucléaires françaises en cas de situations extrêmes et pertinence des propositions d’améliorations
Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN - FR), 2011, 14 p.

Suite à l’accident survenu le 11 mars 2011 dans la centrale de Fukushima Dai-ichi, le premier ministre a demandé à l’Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN) de procéder à un audit de la sûreté des différentes installations nucléaires françaises. Le 5 mai 2011, l’ASN a pris douze décisions demandant aux exploitants

nucléaires français de réaliser des évaluations complémentaires de sûreté (ECS) de leurs installations, sur la base d’un cahier des charges annexé aux décisions précitées et cohérent avec le cahier des charges retenu pour les « stress-tests » demandés par le Conseil Européen.
Les ECS visent à prendre en compte les premiers enseignements des événements survenus sur la centrale de Fukushima Dai-ichi, en évaluant la résistance des installations nucléaires françaises à des scénarios extrêmes, allant au-delà des situations prises en compte pour leur dimensionnement. Ces évaluations concernent en 2011 les réacteurs de puissance en exploitation (REP de 900, 1300 et 1450 MWe), ou en construction (EPR), ainsi que certaines installations nucléaires jugées prioritaires par l’ASN (le Réacteur à Haut Flux de Grenoble, le Réacteur Jules Horowitz, le réacteur OSIRIS, l’installation MASURCA, l’Atelier de Technologie du Plutonium, la centrale PHENIX, l’usine MELOX, les établissements de La Hague, de FBFC et, sur le site du Tricastin, les établissements d’AREVA NC, COMURHEX, EURODIF, Georges Besse II et de SOCATRI).

Dans ce cadre, l’ASN a demandé aux Groupes Permanents pour les réacteurs (GPR) et pour les laboratoires et usines (GPU) de lui faire part de leur avis sur ces évaluations complémentaires de sûreté et sur la pertinence des propositions d’amélioration visant à renforcer la sûreté de ces installations en cas de situations extrêmes (séisme, inondation, perte de sources electriques, perte de sources froides), sur la base de l’analyse critique par l’IRSN de ces propositions. Une première réunion des Groupes Permanents d’experts s’est tenue le 6 juillet 2011 pour examiner la démarche proposée par chacun des exploitants, à l’issue de laquelle un avis a été remis à l’ASN. Cette dernière a alors indiqué aux exploitants concernés par ces évaluations les points sur lesquels une vigilance particulière devait être portée.
L’analyse par l’IRSN des ECS réalisées et transmises par les exploitants le 15 septembre 2011 fait l’objet d’un rapport transmis le 4 novembre 2011 à l’ASN et aux membres des Groupes permanents. Ce rapport est disponible en langue française et anglaise1 sur le site internet www.irsn.fr. Le présent rapport constitue une synthèse du rapport précité.

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White Paper - The Impact of the Fukushima
Accident on the U.S. Nuclear Energy Industry
Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), November 2011, 9 p.

This NEI white paper describes the impact of the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan on the industry in the United States, and the industry's immediate, in-depth response to it.

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Las recomendaciones de la ICRP vis à vis las secuelas del accidente de Fukushima: Algunas lecciones preliminares
Sociedad Argentina de Radioprotección (SAR), 2011, 10 p.

El accidente nuclear de las centrales nucleares de Fukushima Dai-ichi no tiene precedentes en escala y en evolución. La Comisión Internacional de Protección Radiológica (ICRP) creó un Grupo de Trabajo (ICRP TG84) para recoger las primeras lecciones aprendidas del accidente vis-à-vis el sistema de protección recomendado por la ICRP. La ICRP es una organización independiente benéfica y no gubernamental que fue creada en 1928 por el Congreso Internacional de Radiología con el objeto de incorporar, para el beneficio público, las

ciencias de la protección contra los efectos perniciosos de la exposición a las radiaciones ionizantes (la así llamada protección radiológica), y desde entonces es el principal organismo mundial que genera recomendaciones en esta área. En 2007, la ICRP publicó recomendaciones revisadas sobre la protección radiológica (ICRP, 2007a), las que son aplicables a la protección contra la exposición a la radiación del accidente de Fukushima. El ICRP TG84 espera compilar las lecciones aprendidas en relación con los esfuerzos realizados para proteger a las personas de la exposición a la radiación durante y después de la situación de emergencia causada por el accidente y, a la luz de estas lecciones, considerar recomendaciones ad hoc para el fortalecimiento del sistema de protección radiológica de la ICRP para hacer frente a este tipo de exposición de emergencia.
Al momento de escribir esta memoria, el ICRP TG84 aún no ha terminado su trabajo. Sin embargo, el autor, quien es el Presidente del ICRP TG84, tiene el propósito de describir su opinión personal sobre los principales temas examinados por el grupo. La intención no es adelantarse a los trabajos del ICRP TG84, sino sólo revisar algunas de las cuestiones de protección radiológica que han sido discutidas por el grupo.
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Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards - Interim Edition
IAEA, 2011, 303 p.

This General Safety Requirements publication, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 3, Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards(hereinafter referred to as ‘these Standards’), is part of the IAEA Safety Standard Series, supersedes the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources (the BSS) issued in 1996. Section 1 does not constitute a part of the requirements, but explains the context, concepts and principles for the requirements, which are established from Section 2 to Section 5, and in the Schedules.

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Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options: DOE Needs to Enhance Planning for Technology Assessment and Collaboration with Industry and Other Countries
General Accountability Office (US), October 17, 2011, 76 p.

More demand for electricity and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions have increased interest in nuclear power, which does not rely on fossil fuels. However, concerns remain about the radioactive spent fuel that nuclear reactors generate. The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a research and development (R&D) plan to select nuclear fuel cycles and technologies, some of which reprocess spent fuel and recycle some nuclear material,

such as plutonium. These fuel cycles may help reduce the generation of spent fuel and risks of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. GAO was asked to review (1) DOE's approach to selecting nuclear fuel cycles and technologies, (2) DOE's efforts to reduce proliferation and terrorism risks, and (3) selected countries' experiences in reprocessing and recycling spent fuel. GAO reviewed DOE's plan and met with officials from DOE, the nuclear industry, and France and the United Kingdom. DOE's R&D plan relies on a systematic approach--that is, the use of scientific methods and engineering principles--to select and demonstrate nuclear fuel cycles and associated technologies. However, it does not explain the current readiness levels of the technologies associated with the fuel cycles and the estimated time and cost of further development; it also does not explain how DOE will collaborate with the nuclear industry and other countries experienced in nuclear R&D in achieving its goals. In particular: (1) In 2010, DOE screened 863 previously identified nuclear fuel cycles and technologies and grouped them into 266 fuel cycles for further exploration. Independent reviewers found this screening process useful and recommended changes that DOE officials stated they would act on. (2) DOE's R&D plan states that it is necessary to assess the readiness levels of technologies associated with nuclear fuel cycles. However, neither the plan nor the screening process describe the current readiness levels of all critical technologies or the time or estimated costs for further development. As GAO has reported, assessing the readiness of technology is a best practice to help control schedule and costs. (3) DOE's R&D plan states the importance of collaborating with the nuclear industry--the ultimate user of any fuel cycle and technologies that are developed--and DOE continues to get industry advice. However, the plan does not include a strategy for long-term collaboration with industry, without which DOE cannot be assured that the nuclear industry will accept and use the fuel cycles and technologies that the department may develop. (4) DOE has agreements with other countries that provide collaborative opportunities to share research results and leverage DOE's R&D efforts, such as using the countries' research facilities. However, the plan does not explain how DOE will use these agreements to advance its R&D goals. As stated in DOE's R&D plan, the Office of Nuclear Energy has efforts under way to minimize proliferation and terrorism risks associated with nuclear power, but faces challenges. These challenges include developing reliable and cost-effective fuel cycles while minimizing the attractiveness to potential adversaries of radioactive materials resulting from these cycles. NNSA is also working on these issues, and the two agencies have worked together informally to avoid duplication and overlap but do not have a formal mechanism to collaborate on future efforts, which can help agencies strengthen their commitment to work collaboratively by clarifying who will lead or participate in which activities and how decisions will be made. GAO reviewed France's and the United Kingdom's decades of experiences in developing and operating reprocessing and recycling infrastructures. These experiences can provide some insights into the decisions DOE may need to make in selecting nuclear fuel cycles and technologies. For example, reprocessing and recycling is likely to reduce the amount of space needed for a nuclear waste repository because some of the radioactive materials are reused, but the amount of this reduction would depend on how much of the radioactive materials that are reused might ultimately require disposal in such a repository. GAO recommends that DOE revise its plan to include the current readiness levels of fuel cycle technologies and the estimated time and cost to develop them, include a strategy for long-term collaboration with the nuclear industry, and specify how DOE will use international agreements to advance its efforts. GAO also recommends that DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) complete a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to avoid duplication and overlap of efforts. DOE agreed with the first three recommendations and did not rule out the future use of a MOU. GAO continues to believe that this formal collaboration mechanism is needed.

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