Review of Innovative Reactor Concepts for Prevention of Severe Accidents and Mitigation of their Consequences (RISC)
Ensuring safety under normal and design basis accident conditions is a key requirement for the development of nuclear power. Severe accident prevention and mitigation measures are also important and are expected to receive increased attention following the Fukushima accident.
The INPRO methodology in the area of reactor safety requires that
“a major release of radioactivity from an installation of an Innovative Nuclear System (INS) should be prevented for all practical purposes, so that INS installations would not need relocation or evacuation measures outside the plant site, apart from those generic emergency measures developed for any industrial facility used for similar purpose”.
This requirement implies that the off-site release of radioactive substances above a certain limit must be ‘practically impossible’. Satisfying this requirement is crucial for public acceptance and for the sustainability of nuclear energy.
The objective of this project is to demonstrate that the evolution of safety requirements and related technical and institutional innovations in nuclear technologies provide continued progress to ultimately avoid relocation or evacuation measures outside nuclear power plant sites.
Existing or proposed advanced nuclear energy systems will be evaluated with respect to the above INPRO requirement, i.e. no need for evacuation beyond the NPP site following any type of accident. The efforts undertaken to verify the effectiveness of the systems will be documented.
The target audience are interested groups of the public, decision makers, technical experts, and scientists working in the area of nuclear power.
A kick-off meeting will be held in the first quarter of 2013 to discuss and finalize the Terms of Reference of this INPRO Collaborative Project.
Several activities are envisaged:
1) Review of advanced reactor concepts (e.g., Gen-III, Gen-IV, concepts that were investigated following the Three Mile Islands and Chernobyl accidents, etc.) with a focus on technologies that claim to satisfy the above requirements.
2) Using the INPRO methodology, perform an assessment of one or more of these concepts using an assumed nuclear power system, and provide recommendations on the need to further develop the concept. Proof is required that the ‘last barrier’ does not fail under multiple simultaneous natural and technical disasters or human error.
3) Investigation of the role of multilateral cooperation (e.g., unification of safety requirements) in enhancing the safety of the global nuclear energy system.