Advancing the standards needed to support the widespread commercialization of the U.S. nuclear industry is the driving force behind the Nuclear Energy Standards Coordination Collaborative (NESCC). A joint initiative of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the NESCC seeks to identify the standards needed for the design, operation, development, licensing, and deployment of nuclear power plants and other nuclear technologies.
A recently published report from the NESCC's November 22 meeting provides a high-level overview of the meeting and the NESCC's efforts to further standards work in this area. Held at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD, the meeting drew leaders from industry, government, and standards developing organizations to discuss issues ranging from small modular reactors (SMRs) to nuclear certification for concrete technicians and inspectors. [see related news item]
While the NESCC's primary objective is to address the needs of the U.S. nuclear industry, the group's work is gaining recognition internationally, as the meeting report highlights. NESCC recently granted observer status to METI, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, in response to the ministry's membership request. NESCC attendees supported the inclusion of international experts, citing the importance of harmonization of standards.
The NESCC also discussed the advantages of a potential liaison with India, which has expressed interest in U.S. technology. ANSI will explore the possibility of a sector-specific nuclear energy workshop through the Institute's U.S.-India Standards and Conformance Cooperation Program (SCCP). ANSI launched the SCCP in 2009 in cooperation with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to engender cooperation on standards and conformance issues and improve access for U.S. companies to the Indian market. To date, SCCP sector-specific workshops have addressed topics including fire safety in tall buildings, the safe storage of liquefied natural gas, aerospace, and biometrics.
Ambler Thompson, Ph.D., of NIST updated the NESCC on a workshop that took place in October 2010 between the U.S. Commercial Service in Brazil, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Brazil is interested in establishing itself as a global supplier of nuclear products. These products would be developed using standards developed by ASME and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Additional work is anticipated with Brazil in the future.
The meeting report, and all of the presentations from the November 22 NESCC meeting, are available in the NESCC document library.
NESCC is open to all stakeholders, government legislative and regulatory bodies, industry, standards developing organizations, certification organizations, and other interested parties. The intent is to create a highly inclusive, collaborative forum with participation from a range of perspectives that is not disproportionately dependent upon any single interest, organization, or stakeholder group. For information on joining the NESCC, visit www.ansi.org/nuclear.
The next meeting of the NESCC will take place on March 1, 2011, at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland.