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IAEA innovative reactor project gets underway

At its inaugural meeting May 23-24 in Vienna, the Steering Committee of the IAEA's International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) opened the door to direct scientific contributions to the final INPRO report from both Member and Observer countries, in response to specific interest expressed by Steering Committee members. Members also stressed the unique role of INPRO relative to other national and international initiatives on innovative nuclear power technologies in (1) identifying the needs and requirements of a spectrum of developing and developed countries and (2) contributing explicitly to the debate on the global acceptability of nuclear power.

The meeting was attended by seven of INPRO's nine current members - China, Germany, India, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Spain, and Turkey - plus observers from ten countries - Australia, Belarus, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, the United Kingdom - and from the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency in Paris. The two members not in attendance were Argentina and Brazil. INPRO members are those who contribute either cash or cost-free experts to the project. All IAEA Member States are also free to participate in the Steering Committee as observers. In this first Steering Committee meeting, several observers reported on discussions in their countries about possibly upgrading their status to full membership.

The Steering Committee approved a revised work plan, budget, and a status report outline for INPRO. INRPO as planned requires 15-16 cost-free experts (CFE) plus extra-budgetary funds. The CFE requirement in largely met with CFE's from the following countries already either at work in Vienna or pledged by INPRO members: Argentina, Brazil, China, European Commission, Germany (2), India, Rep. of Korea, Netherlands, Russian Federation (3), Spain, and Turkey.

The Steering Committee's principal response to currently limited extra-budgetary funds was the offer by a number of members and observers to contribute directly to the final INPRO report. These countries would coordinate scientific inputs to specific parts of the INPRO report from their own experts.

The next major step in INPRO will be a 2-6 July 2001 workshop at Como, Italy, hosted by the Landau Network-Centro Volta and supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the IAEA, on "Proliferation-Resistance in Innovative Reactors and Fuel Cycles."