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Английское онлайн занятие в рамках Интенсивного курса английского языка. Индивидуальное занятие с Галиной Фесенко, читаем отчет МАГАТЭ: Nuclear Technology Review 2012
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Английское онлайн занятие в рамках Интенсивного курса английского языка. Индивидуальное занятие с Галиной Фесенко, читаем отчет МАГАТЭ: Nuclear Technology Review 2012

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Executive Summary

In 2011, nuclear energy continued to play an important role in global electricity production despite the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP). Total generating nuclear power capacity was slightly lower than in previous years due to the permanent shutdown of 13 reactors in 2011, including 8 in Germany and 4 in Japan in the wake of the accident. However, there were 7 new grid connections compared to 5 in 2010, 2 in 2009 and none in 2008. Significant growth in the use of nuclear energy worldwide is still anticipated — between 35% and 100% by 2030 — although the Agency projections for 2030 are 7–8% lower than projections made in 2010. The factors that have contributed to an increased interest in nuclear power did not change: an increasing global demand for energy, concerns about climate change, energy security and uncertainty about fossil fuel supplies. Most of the growth is still expected in countries that already have operating NPPs, especially in Asia, with China and India remaining the main centres of expansion while the Russian Federation will also remain a centre of strong growth. The 7–8% drop in projected growth for 2030 reflects an accelerated phase-out of nuclear power in Germany, some immediate shutdowns and a government review of the planned expansion in Japan, as well as temporary delays in expansion in several other countries.

Measures taken by countries as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident have been varied. A number of countries announced reviews of their programmes. Belgium, Germany and Switzerland took additional steps to phase out nuclear power entirely while others re-emphasized their expansion plans. Many Member States carried out national safety assessment reviews in 2011 (often called ‘stress tests’), and commitments were made to complete any remaining assessments promptly and to implement the necessary corrective action. In countries considering the introduction of nuclear power, interest remained strong. Although some countries indicated that they would delay decisions to start nuclear power programmes, others continued with their plans to introduce nuclear energy.

A Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety was convened by the Agency in June 2011. Its objectives were to discuss an initial assessment of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, to consider the lessons that needed to be learned, to help launch a process to enhance nuclear safety throughout the world and to consider ways of further strengthening the response to nuclear accidents and emergencies. The IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which defines 12 main actions, was endorsed by the General Conference in September 2011.

In the 2011 edition of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)–IAEA ‘Red Book’, estimates of identified conventional uranium resources at less than $130/kg U decreased slightly compared to the previous edition, as uranium production worldwide rose significantly, due largely to increased production in Kazakhstan. New resources were reported throughout 2011 for many uranium deposits in Africa, and commercial production was reported for the first time at the Honeymoon in situ leaching mine in Australia. Uranium spot prices, which at the end of 2010 had reached their highest levels in over two years ($160/kg U), fell after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and ended the year at $135/kg U.

The world’s first Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Reserve under the Agency’s auspices, comprising 120 tonnes of LEU, was established in December 2010 at the International Uranium Enrichment Centre in Angarsk, Russian Federation. From 3 February 2011, the LEU Reserve in Angarsk has been available to Agency Member States. In addition, in March 2011, the Board of Governors approved a proposal for a Nuclear Fuel Assurance (NFA) by the United Kingdom, co-sponsored by the member countries of the European Union (EU), the Russian Federation and the USA. The NFA aims to ensure the supply of enrichment services and LEU for use in NPPs. Furthermore, during 2011 the Secretariat continued work on developing the administrative, financial, legal and technical arrangements for an Agency-coordinated LEU bank to serve as a supply of last resort for nuclear power generation. The Agency accepted an offer from Kazakhstan to host the bank at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant, and formal negotiations on the Host State Agreement began in 2012.

In the area of radioactive waste management, the Council of the EU adopted on 19 July 2011 a Directive establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. This Directive adopted a set of harmonized standards for all EU member countries that are based on the Agency’s safety standards. In Sweden, the Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company SKB submitted a license application to build a final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark in March 2011. In the USA, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future issued, in July 2011, draft recommendations for developing a long-term solution to the management of the USA’s spent fuel and nuclear waste. The final report was issued in January 2012.

In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) declared the global eradication of rinderpest, the most devastating infection of cattle, and for centuries a major cause of famine and poverty. After smallpox in 1980, this is only the second disease that has been successfully eradicated. Nuclear and nuclear-related techniques made an important contribution through the development and use of diagnostic tests such as the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), as developed by the IAEA Animal Production and Health Laboratory.

The globalization of trade in food along with animal movement has brought about an unprecedented increase of emerging and re-emerging animal as well as plant diseases and pests. During 2011, advances were made in utilizing nuclear techniques to address other transboundary animal diseases, including avian influenza (e.g. by tracing the origin of an outbreak using stable isotopes). Scientists are also looking into using irradiation to produce viral vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease, Rift Valley fever, influenza and other viral pathogens. The sterilization of insects as part of insect pest control programmes has traditionally used cobalt-60 or caesium-137 irradiators that produce gamma ray ionizing radiation. However, due to increasingly difficult shipping logistics scientists are exploring new ways of sterilizing insects, such as the use of self-contained low-energy X ray irradiators.

The Fukushima Daiichi accident substantially affected large areas of agricultural lands around the site and presented new challenges in terms of the development of agricultural countermeasures against radiation contamination. Although many of the options that were effectively used after past accidents (e.g. Kyshtym and Chernobyl) such as soil based and agrochemical remedial measures are being further tested and partially implemented in the Fukushima region, the specific conditions of the affected area have called for new approaches to ensure food safety and sustainable agricultural production.

In the area of environmental protection, the Fukushima Daiichi accident showed that a huge number of environmental samples need to be analysed very quickly to comply with regulatory limits and quality criteria. Rapid methods allow the time required for analysis to be reduced from days or weeks to hours or days. The validation and implementation of such methods is necessary above all for radionuclides which pose significant radiological concern in all potentially affected environmental media, as well as for food and animal feed.

The use of well characterized and validated sampling and analytical procedures is especially important in the case of transboundary environmental assessments. The Agency coordinates a worldwide network of analytical laboratories for the measurement of environmental radioactivity (ALMERA) in order to provide reliable and timely analysis of environmental samples in the event of an accidental or intentional release of radioactivity. The 2011 proficiency test organized by ALMERA focused on alpha, beta and gamma emitters in soil and water samples. In 2012, the focus will be on the quality and comparability of analyses of aerosol samples. As compared to the more common aerial and terrestrial in situ gamma spectrometry for environmental sampling, there is an obvious need to install in situ underwater monitoring through stationary and mobile high resolution gamma spectrometry of the coastal marine environment. This would allow for a reconstruction of liquid radioactive releases and rapid screening of water and sediment contamination.

In the area of human health, there is increasing recognition that appropriate nutrition during the first one thousand days of life from conception to two years of age can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow and learn, and on the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, later in life. Nuclear techniques, such as stable isotope dilution, offer advantages in monitoring relatively small changes in body composition, and can be used to evaluate nutrition intervention programmes. In Chile, a successful use of stable isotope techniques to evaluate national intervention programmes led to the development of a Motor Development and Physical Activity Promotion Programme for children aged 6–24 months in 2011.

As part of the efforts to improve the quality of data management for radiotherapy, there is an increasing trend towards the use of ‘record and verify systems’ (RVS), a type of radiotherapy patient database management. In order to promote safe and effective patient treatment, in 2011 the Agency produced guidelines for sound quality management of RVSs, which had been endorsed by all major suppliers of radiotherapy equipment. Various approaches for diagnostic imaging are playing an ever increasing role in the detection and treatment of breast cancer. Recent advances in imaging technology coupled with developments in computer technology have fundamentally improved the processes of tumour targeting and radiation therapy planning. The Agency, through its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), in cooperation with partners such as the World Health Organization, continued to deliver comprehensive cancer control to Member States in 2011.

In the area of water resources, isotope techniques and related tools, together with newer mapping developments such as geographic information systems and geostatistical methods, are helping water managers to better delineate, quantify and visualize aquifers and groundwater bodies. In 2011, the use of low cost and easy-to-operate devices for the analysis of stable isotopes in water, based on laser spectroscopy, became a standard procedure for research groups worldwide. This has allowed them to be more independent in analysing stable isotopes for hydrological assessment, thus saving money and time. For example, isotopic studies to assess groundwater resources in the Santa Elena peninsula in Ecuador have provided information that has helped to increase the availability of water to many of the area’s inhabitants.

Progress in nuclear imaging is closely linked to the production of new radionuclides with novel physical and chemical properties. In 2011, generator-produced radionuclides for positron emission tomography (PET) became increasingly more accessible in countries like Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the UK and the USA because they can be produced in hospitals without an on-site cyclotron. Another trend observed in 2011 was that a number of manufacturers upgraded their cyclotron systems in order to achieve increased beam current and higher energies to meet the current demand for radionuclides used in such diagnostic techniques as PET and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), as well as therapeutic applications.

In the area of radiation technologies, the development of a highly effective vaccine for malaria in advanced stages of clinical trials was reported at the International Meeting on Radiation Processing in 2011. The vaccine is based on sporozoites that have been weakened by gamma irradiation. The vaccine prevents malaria blood-stage infection, protects an individual from the disease and blocks the transmission of the disease.

In another 2011 development, related to biofuels, the use of thermal hydrolysis combined with electron beam irradiation of sugar cane bagasse was shown to lead to increased yields of bioethanol. The use of radiation grafted fibrous polymer membranes, developed by the Quantum Beam Science Directorate of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) was successfully demonstrated to selectively remove radioactive caesium from two sites that were contaminated as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Radiotracers and nucleonic gauges are being increasingly used in mining mainly for the exploration and effective exploitation of natural resources.

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