EU Science Hub

JRC and Japan Atomic Energy Agency celebrate 30 years of research cooperation

The JRC provides technical and scientific support to EU policies in nuclear safety, security and radiation protection
The JRC provides technical and scientific support to EU policies in nuclear safety, security and radiation protection
Sep 24 2020

Today, the JRC and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) celebrate 30 years of research and training cooperation in nuclear safeguards, security and non-proliferation.

For several decades, both organisations have been contributing to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards regime.

The JRC and JAEA provide expert and technical support to achieve the common goal of credible assurance that nuclear material and technology remain in peaceful use.

An online event took place to mark the occasion during the 64th IAEA General Conference.

The event acknowledged many outcomes of the close cooperation and highlighted the importance of international nuclear cooperation.

Development of Neutron Resonance Densitometry, cooperation in Nuclear Forensics and joint capacity building are just a few examples of recent JRC-JAEA projects.

Neutron Resonance Densitometry is a non‐destructive method developed to characterise complex materials like debris of melted fuel originating from severe nuclear accidents, such as the one at Fukushima Daiichi. Characterisation of such debris is re­quired for safeguards and nuclear material accountancy.

The joint JRC-JAEA Neutron Resonance Densitometry project received the 2016 'Award for Distinguished Technology Development' of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan. It has also triggered development of other innovative Non-Destructive Analysis techniques for a broader application in nuclear security, safeguards and safety.

Nuclear Forensics is a key element of nuclear security. It is a methodology to examine nuclear and other radioactive materials, using analytical techniques to determine their origin and history. Nuclear Forensics is often used in law enforcement investigations.

JRC and JAEA cooperation in Nuclear Forensics focuses on exchanging information on things like:

  • national response frameworks;
  • evidence collection and handling, analysis and interpretation;
  • impurity patterns in natural uranium;
  • characterisation of radioactive material after a Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD) event.

Joint training activities are also an important part of this cooperation.

Looking to the future, the JRC and JAEA cooperation in safeguards and security will focus on more innovative projects taking into account the age of digital transformation, with aspects such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

In the future, both parties hope to expand their cooperation to other areas of common interest, while complementing each other’s expertise and research infrastructures. Enhanced cooperation between the EU and Japan on science, technology and innovation is supported by the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which the EU and Japan signed in 2018 and started implementing in February 2019.