INPRO and GIF Cooperate on Innovative Technologies

Mar 10, 2014

INPRO and GIF Cooperate on Innovative Technologies
8th GIF-INPRO Interface Meeting, held at the IAEA on 4−5 March 2014.
(Photo: D. Simittchieva, IAEA)

Safety, proliferation resistance and economics of innovative nuclear reactors continue to be key areas of cooperation between INPRO and the Generation IV International Forum (GIF).

Some 40 experts of both organizations met at the IAEA in Vienna on 4 to 5 March 2014 to share information on progress and future activities related to R&D and technology innovations of nuclear energy systems and discuss topics of future cooperation. This was the 8th Interface Meeting between the two organizations since 2003.

“The basis for initiating cooperation was the recognition of complementary activities, primarily in the realm of technology assessment methodology development”, said John E. Kelly, Chairman of GIF. “Our Joint Action Plan has evolved into a cooperation matrix that we actively maintain today”.

“I am very pleased that this important technical exchange between the IAEA and the Generation IV International Forum continues”, said Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, who is also the INPRO Project Manager. “The topical sessions on the current cooperation between the IAEA and GIF show the promise in our continued dialogue. The sessions on safety and economics suggest that our cooperation will continue in the future”.

GIF coordinates research activities on six next generation nuclear reactor systems: sodium cooled fast reactor (SFR), lead cooled FR (LFR), gas cooled FR (GFR), molten salt reactor (MSR), supercritical water cooled reactor (SCWR) and very high temperature reactor (VHTR).

GIF representatives presented the technical development status of each of these reactors within the participating GIF Member States.

Russia is moving into a number of demonstrations including the current fuelling of the BN-800 and SVBR-100 and BREST demonstrations in the 2020 time frame. The MBIR liquid metal cooled fast research reactor is currently under construction to support RD&D efforts in this area.

New demonstration fast reactors are also operating or being constructed in China and India. In Europe, France, Italy, Romania and other EU countries continue to work together on fast reactor designs, moving toward demonstration projects. Elsewhere, significant fast reactor R&D is moving ahead, using existing research and demonstration reactors, in a collaborative atmosphere among Member States.

There has been important progress in the area of high temperature reactors, particularly in materials and fuels. The USA has recently reported outstanding results from irradiations and high temperature fuel tests on tristructural-isotropic (TRISO) fuel and there is growing interest in process heat applications. Although the pace of Fast Gas Reactor R&D seems to be slowing down, important advancements in materials within that programme may influence the future of fuels for reactors that are being built and demonstrated today.

IAEA and GIF experts briefed the meeting on the status of assessment methodology development and cooperation in the areas of safety, proliferation resistance and economics.

They also reported on the series of GIF-IAEA workshops on SFR safety aspects, including development of SFR safety design criteria (SDC). “GIF has been pleased with the success of this workshop series”, stressed Mr Kelly. The next SFR-SDC joint workshop will be held on 10-11 June 2014 at the IAEA.

“INPRO experts also briefed the meeting on ongoing and new projects that may be of interest to our colleagues from GIF”, said Jon Phillips, who served as INPRO’s Scientific Secretary of the meeting. This included an update on the SYNERGIES project that helps develop a more detailed understanding of how future innovative reactor and fuel cycle technologies, in different Member States, may operate in a cooperative manner to achieve a higher level of sustainably.

New INPRO projects briefed to GIF included activities focusing on sharing and development of best practises for international cooperation in development of innovation. In the area of innovative reactor R&D, GIF is an outstanding example of international collaborative efforts.

Two other briefed INPRO projects cover specific topics of interest to innovative reactor development, namely: waste generated from innovative reactors and fuel cycles (WIRAF) and assessment of innovative reactor concepts for prevention of severe accidents and mitigation of consequences (RISC).

Finally, INPRO briefed GIF on efforts to perform a set of limited scope Nuclear Energy System Assessments (NESA) on specific liquid-metal-cooled fast reactor (LMFR) designs. These assessment efforts would be done by Member States in bilateral collaboration with the INPRO Section.

The next GIF-INPRO Interface meeting will be held in early 2015.

Additional Resources

Meeting web page with presentations and other meeting documents.

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