INPRO Steering Committee Discusses Future Programme

Jun 8, 2011

INPRO Steering Committee Discusses Future Programme
17th Meeting of the INPRO Steering Committee
IAEA, 25-27 May 2011

The next five years of activities were the focus of discussions when the advisory body of the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, the INPRO Steering Committee (SC), held its 17th Meeting at the end of May at the IAEA.

"I consider INPRO to be one of the key activities in the Department of Nuclear Energy" said Mr Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director for Nuclear Energy and INPRO Project Manager in opening the meeting. "INPRO's unique impact is a holistic and global view of nuclear energy systems together with the pursuit of innovations in nuclear energy, enabling it, as stated in the Agency's Medium Term Strategy, to 'facilitate collaboration among interested Member States in the joint development of evolutionary and innovative nuclear energy system' ", he remarked.

This Steering Committee meeting, chaired by Mr Robert Speranzini of Canada, was the second in a series of three planning meetings that is developing and adopting the INPRO Action Plan for 2012 and 2013; the plan includes strategic directions and new activities for the Agency’s next biennium. The meeting also charted the way forward by discussing a vision and strategy for the medium term, i.e. over the next five years to 2016, and gave INPRO Members the opportunity to present their plans for extrabudgetary contributions needed to implement activities.

Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident

The Steering Committee expressed appreciation to the Japanese delegation for its detailed report of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident and expressed their sympathy to the Japanese people for the suffering caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

“There was indeed a very unfortunate accident in Japan, and we need to take the lessons learned into account” said SC Chair Mr Speranzini. “But we also know that the underlying drivers for nuclear power still remain. Nations need a secure energy supply and are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and nuclear energy has a role to play. INPRO in turn has a strong role to play in ensuring that nuclear energy production is sustainable with the understanding that we need to continue to strengthen aspects related to safety and security”.

Action Plan 2012-2013

As already agreed at the last meeting of the Steering Committee in November 2010, INPRO’s activities in the next biennium will be organized in four major projects:

  • Project 1: National long range nuclear energy strategies
  • Project 2: Global nuclear energy scenarios
  • Project 3: Technological and institutional innovations
  • Project 4: Policy and Dialogue Forum

While it is foreseen to continue some of the current activities, such as supporting countries in assessing their existing or planned nuclear energy systems using the INPRO methodology, a number of new and follow up projects were proposed and discussed, for example a continuation of modeling global nuclear energy scenarios as GAINS II. Other areas of interest expressed by SC members were public outreach as a Dialogue Forum topic, and simplification of the description of the INPRO methodology to allow for better understanding by new users and its use as an educational tool in human resource development.

The complete plan of 2012-2013 activities will be available after finalization and adoption at the 18th meeting of the INPRO Steering Committee in November.

Coordination with other organizations and initiatives will remain an important element on INPRO’s agenda. To that end, several delegates presented international activities undertaken within the frameworks of the European Commission, the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), the World Nuclear Association (WNA) and the International Framework for Energy Cooperation (IFNEC).

INPRO Vision to 2016

A vision for INPRO’s development over the next five years is based on the Project’s contribution to global nuclear energy sustainability. The proposed pathway goes from understanding the challenges through studies and analysis of a sustainable nuclear energy system to developing options for technical and institutional innovations through Collaborative Projects to implementing solutions by assisting Member States in planning and deciding on their long-range nuclear energy strategies.

Nineteen INPRO Members presented their views, national priorities and recommendations on future INPRO activities. These were summarized in in reports by the meeting rapporteuers, Mr Adiwardojo (Indonesia), Mr Pascal Anzieu (France) and Mr Al Burkart (USA).

“The Steering Committee took a generally positive view on the draft vision document that was tabled”, explained INPRO Group Leader Randy Beatty. “We also received many valuable comments concerning the goals, priorities, membership and resources which will be taken into account when finalizing the document before the next meeting”.

Closing Session

In addressing the meeting, Mr Kwaku Aning, IAEA Deputy Director General for Technical Cooperation pointed to several activities undertaken with the support of and in cooperation with his Department, including the INPRO Dialogue Forum and workshops on long range nuclear energy strategy development.

“The decision to embark on a nuclear power programme must be based on an inclusive decision-making process and requires appropriate long-term energy planning, said Mr Aning. “INPRO’s approach enables informed decision-making, and also strengthens the participation of countries in guiding the development of new technologies.”

“Through the TC programme, we will enhance and strengthen Member State capacities to put in place a diverse, safe and secure energy supply to meet their rising energy demands”, Mr Aning pointed out.

In closing the 17th meeting of the INPRO Steering Committee, Deputy Director General Mr Bychkov highlighted several important areas of common interest in the Steering Committee, including global nuclear energy scenarios, an update of the INPRO methodology, thorium as a resource, small and medium sized reactors, the importance of public perception and public acceptance of nuclear energy development and above all, safety.

“It is my strong belief that safety mainly depends on technology”, said Mr Bychkov. “A priority for INPRO will be to maintain a strong exchange of information on advanced technologies that are safe and proliferation resistant”.

The 17th meeting of the INPRO Steering Committee was held on 25-27 May 2011 at the IAEA in Vienna. Over 40 participants from INPRO member countries, observers and cooperating international organizations participated. The next meeting of the INPRO Steering Committee will take place on 2-4 November 2011 at the IAEA.

Contact: R. Beatty

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