Updating the INPRO Methodology
Nov 28, 2012
Experts from several INPRO Member States recently met at the IAEA to discuss the planned 2nd Edition of the INPRO Methodology. It was the first meeting on this topic, held on 21–23 November, and attended by representatives of Belarus, Canada, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, Spain and Vietnam.
In July 2012, the INPRO Steering Committee had endorsed the way forward, proposed in a ‘White Paper’ on the second edition of the INPRO Methodology, which identified two tasks.
Task 1 is a technical update of the INPRO Manual (IAEA TECDOC-1575, Rev.1), in particular Volumes 2 through 9 of the Manual covering specific recommendations to the seven assessment areas of the INPRO Methodology, to be undertaken immediately.
Task 2 is envisaged as an enhancement and revision of the actual INPRO Methodology to consider specific additional applications, additional users, and to make the methodology easier to use. It would require devising terms of reference, additional discussions within the Agency and with the INPRO Steering Committee.
“We focused mainly on Task 1, the revision of the INPRO Manual”, explained Colin Allan from Canada, who chaired last week’s meeting. “We had very good discussions on how to update each of the assessment areas of the INPRO Methodology, taking into account feedback from Member States that had used the Methodology, and thus the Manual, when conducting Nuclear Energy System Assessments (NESAs) in their countries”, he added.
Feedback and input on updating the Manual has come from Belarus, which recently completed a NESA, and from Ukraine and Indonesia which are currently undertaking the assessment, as well as from six national NESAs and a joint study by eight countries on an innovative nuclear energy system consisting of a fast rector with a closed fuel cycle. These studies are documented in IAEA TECDOC-1636, ‘Lessons Learned from Nuclear Energy System Assessments (NESA) Using the INPRO Methodology’.
Key points made were that the INPRO Methodology is a useful tool for developing an understanding of the status of a country’s existing nuclear programme and that is complementary to, and synergistic with, the IAEA’s Milestones approach.
While Task 1 will continue to be focused on electricity generation, issues such as heat production and other energy products including desalination and hydrogen production may be taken into account in the broader Task 2 of revising and enhancing the INPRO Methodology.
“We agreed that energy system planning, for which the IAEA also offers assistance to Member States, is an absolutely necessary prerequisite for any assessment using the INPRO Methodology”, said Mr Allan.
During the meeting, a representative from Japan, Mr Koiji Sato, presented lessons learned to date from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The participants recommended that several issues highlighted in this presentation and during the following discussion be taken into account in both Tasks.
The INPRO Group will take on the responsibility to prepare a draft update of the Manual, and the meeting participants agreed to review it. The draft revision will also be shared with all INPRO Members and within the Agency for comments and input.
The INPRO Methodology is a holistic tool that assists Member States in assessing a planned or existing nuclear energy system in seven areas, i.e. economics, infrastructure, waste management, proliferation resistance, physical protection, environment and safety of nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel cycle facilities. which together encompass the dimensions of sustainable development.