Training Member States in Nuclear Energy Modelling

Work Session during the Training Course (Photo: BATAN)

14 November 2013 | A training course on Evaluation of Collaborative Scenarios of Transition to Sustainable Nuclear Energy Systems using IAEA's Energy Model MESSAGE was held from 21 October to 1 November 2013 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It was jointly organized by the IAEA's INPRO Group and the Planning and Economic Studies Section (PESS).

The training course supported the activity of INPRO Project 2 on Global Nuclear Energy Scenarios, specifically for modelling of scenarios of nuclear energy system (NES) based on open and closed fuel cycle viewed from the global perspective. Such modelling is being used in the Collaborative Project SYNERGIES (Synergistic Nuclear Energy Regional Groups Interactions Evaluated for Sustainability), and could also serve as a pre-requisite for later assessment of NES using the INPRO Methodology. The meeting was organized by Mr Vladimir Kuznetsov, Leader of INPRO Project 2, and Mr Irej Jalal from PESS.

Thirty-three participants from Member States which participate in the SYNERGIES project and other countries attended the meeting, coming from: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Ukraine and Vietnam. The meeting was opened by the Deputy Chairman of Indonesia's Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN), Mr Ferhat Aziz, INPRO Group Head Mr Zoran Drace and Mr Irej Jalal.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide training on the use of the IAEA's energy model MESSAGE for evaluation of collaborative options for NES development within the framework of overall energy system analysis and planning. Topics covered were:

  • 1. Energy system planning and nuclear energy system modelling;
  • 2. Detailed discussion of the MESSAGE methodology, modelling approach and functionality;
  • 3. Training in the application of MESSAGE for modelling of specific technical and economic features of nuclear energy system covering: once-through fuel cycle, closed-fuel cycle based on uranium and plutonium, and thorium fuel cycle for thermal and fast reactors.

MESSAGE (Model for Energy Supply System Alternatives and their General Environmental impacts) can be used to model various options of NES and examine their feasibility given all constraints and boundary conditions adopted in the model. MESSAGE plays a key role as a prerequisite for the performance of INPRO’s nuclear energy system assessment (NESA) and evaluation of innovative approaches in the global system.

The recent INPRO Collaborative Project GAINS (Global Architecture of Innovative Nuclear Energy Systems) has made use of MESSAGE to craft a new model of innovative NES from the global perspective. This model takes into account differences in the countries’ approaches to NES development and potential cooperation and multilateral solutions for the common global characters such as safety, resources and proliferation resistance. Several scenarios were analysed including dynamic transition from the existing to future NES, including:

  • (i) different fuel cycle options (once-through and closed nuclear fuel cycle with uranium, plutonium and thorium fuel using thermal and fast reactors),
  • (ii) multiregional model (groups of countries which recycle spent nuclear fuel (NG1), directly dispose of spent nuclear fuel (NG2), and send spent nuclear fuel to NG1 or NG2 (NG3);
  • (iii) R&D costs and investments for innovative reactor technologies.

The on-going INPRO Collaborative Project SYNERGIES implements the GAINS framework and elaborates in greater detail the various forms of collaboration among countries, using MESSAGE inter alia for cost optimization.

Prior to the training course, a distance e-learning package was offered to all participants in order to develop basic skills on the use of the MESSAGE software for energy system modelling.

As a result of the training participants are able to use MESSAGE to model various nuclear energy systems including options on nuclear fuel cycle, denoting the country’s approach toward potential cooperation and multilateral solutions. Participants developed 13 national case studies during the training and presented the case studies reflecting their efforts at the end of the meeting.