INPRO's PROSA Project Holds Final Meeting

IAEA Safeguards Inspectors in a nuclear facility
(Photo: IAEA)

2013-10-31 | The INPRO Collaborative Project on Proliferation Resistance and Safeguardability Assessment Tools (PROSA) held an interface meeting with the Proliferation Resistance and Physical Protection (PRPP) Working Group of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) at the IAEA on 17−18 October. In the following week, PROSA held its final consultants meeting on 21−24 October 2013 to prepare for final drafting and publication of the PROSA report.

Since the project was launched in 2011, Member State experts have worked with the INPRO Group and the Safeguards Concepts and Planning Division of the IAEA Department of Safeguards to develop a revised methodology for the self-assessment of proliferation resistance (PR) of a nuclear facility from the perspective of nuclear energy system sustainability.

“If a country’s energy choice is nuclear, then proliferation resistance should be one important aspect. And the energy systems should be installed in such a way that they would be unattractive means for pursuing a weapons programme,” said Jon Phillips of the INPRO Group.

Proliferation resistance is one of seven assessment areas in the INPRO Methodology which can be used to assess the sustainability of a nuclear energy system. The methodology comprises a hierarchy of basic principles, user requirements and criteria with indicators and acceptance limits. If all of these are met in all assessment areas, the nuclear energy system represents a source of energy consistent with a country’s sustainable development criteria.

The revised approach emphasizes the evaluation of a new user requirement in the INPRO Methodology for safeguardability, combining metrics of effective and efficient implementation of IAEA Safeguards including ‘Safeguards by Design’ principles. In addition, the project members recommend a streamlined approach to the PR assessment, reducing the evaluation from five to three user requirements and taking into consideration whether the nuclear energy system contains proven, evolutionary or innovative technologies.

“We also developed an understanding of the relationship between the proliferation assessment using the INPRO Methodology, and the Proliferation Resistance and Physical Protection (PRPP) Methodology as developed by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) PRPP Working Group”, said James Sprinkle of the IAEA’s Safeguards Concepts and Planning Division.

It was concluded that while the INPRO Methodology has the purpose of self-assessment of sustainability of a nuclear energy system in the area of proliferation resistance, the PRPP Methodology is a broader and more generic assessment of proliferation resistance. Since the INPRO PR assessment objective is narrowly defined in comparison to PRPP, the INPRO assessment approach is less complex – the two approaches serve different purposes and have different stakeholders.

The project team will now complete the IAEA technical document reporting the outcome of the PROSA Collaborative Project. This document will also provide advice to the revision of the INPRO Methodology Manual on proliferation resistance assessment.