Working at INPRO/IAEA - a Unique Opportunity
Sep 26, 2012
Randy Beatty, INPRO Group Leader, will leave the Agency at the end of September to return to his home institution, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the USA. In this interview, he shares his thoughts about the five years he spent at INPRO and about INPRO’s future.
Q: What do you consider to be main achievements of INPRO over the past five years?
Randy Beatty: I’d like to mention three things I am particularly proud of. The first is that we gave the INPRO Group an identity within the Agency, and we developed a team spirit so that everybody has been moving in a direction that people have agreed to and bought into.
Second, we focused the goals of INPRO in an area that adds value to the core missions of the IAEA, in particular what I like to call the “fourth S”. Everyone talks about the three “Ss”― safety, security and safeguards. In fact, there is a fourth “S”, sustainability. Supporting Member States in the development of sustainable nuclear energy is a core mission of INPRO.
And third, a key aspect of the INPRO programme is to support Member States. We have considerably increased the membership in the past five years, which now includes 38 members. INPRO is responsible for, and is successful in providing support to Member States in their long range commitment, awareness and strategy for the development and deployment of nuclear energy. I think this a key accomplishment.
Q: What about the INPRO Dialogue Forum?
RB: Yes, I should add a fourth achievement, and it’s something that I am really proud of. In fact, the earlier study on Common User Considerations (CUC) was a dialogue between technology holders, users and other stakeholders, which we wanted to continue. So we named it the INPRO Dialogue Forum and held it on a regular basis. We are now planning our sixth and seventh forums. We’ve covered a wide range of varied and interesting topics from siting to safety to economics to reactor size, etc. So I think we have in fact made this group of technology suppliers, users, and vendors interested in listening to the potential markets through an international multilateral forum.
Q: INPRO has also intensified its cooperation with other international organizations and initiatives. Would you like to comment on that?
RB: Two things we have achieved in terms of co-operation: I believe we have made tremendous progress in terms of intra-Agency cooperation with other departments and divisions. And we enhanced international co-operation, in particular with the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), which has become a regular and effective vehicle for discussing advanced reactor concepts and closed fuel cycle issues. We also established good working relationships with the OECD/NEA, and other institutions.
Over the past five years, we’ve also enhanced our communications with Member States and interested publics about the INPRO programme. I believe we have become a model for how Member States get information about a project or a programme. I think that’s very effective, and it has been a team effort.
Q: What are your thoughts about INPRO’s future?
RB: In the area of innovations, the contribution we can make to the transition to the next generation of safer, more reliable, and more proliferation resistant reactors and to a closed fuel cycle is still very important. INPRO should continue, based on Member State recommendations, to develop areas that address how an innovation might contribute to moving sustainable nuclear energy programmes forward. Having an umbrella programme like INPRO to discuss cross-cutting issues is a key for the Agency, and we must continue to have a place where we can talk about these options for the future.
I also recommend being more pro-active in recruiting cost-free experts from Member States with specific technical expertise that fits with INPRO’s priorities. This could give several countries an opportunity to propose suitable experts for 2–3 years.
Q: What will you do when you go back to the USA?
RB: I will return to my home institution, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, where I will be responsible for international cooperation projects. This will hopefully bring me back to Vienna a few times per year.
Q: How do you feel about looking back at five years at the Agency?
RB: During the last five years, I have gained much more than I have given to the Agency. I have had a great experience here and have met many really interesting people. I would like to thank them for embracing me and my family and making these five years a tremendous life experience for all of us. I would strongly encourage anybody who hasn’t yet spent some time at the Agency to think about it, because it is truly a unique opportunity.
Mr Randy Beatty can be contacted at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as of 1 October 2012.
Interview by Elisabeth Dyck, INPRO Group