The IAEA Milestones Approach

Supporting Member States in developing the necessary infrastructure for a safe, secure and sustainable nuclear power programme


The IAEA Milestones Approach is documented in Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power (IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NG-G-3.1)

An updated version of this publication will be available in September 2015.

The IAEA Milestones Approach was developed to assist countries that are considering or planning their first nuclear power plant.

The aim is to help Member States to understand the commitments and obligations associated with developing a nuclear power programme. Countries that already have nuclear power can assess their preparedness for expansion.


The IAEA Milestones Approach – Phases and Milestones

The activities necessary to prepare a nuclear power infrastructure can be split into three progressive phases of development.


Three Phases

Phase 1: Considerations before a decision to launch a nuclear power programme is taken

Phase 2: Preparatory work for the construction of a nuclear power plant after a policy decision has been taken

Phase 3: Activities to implement a first nuclear power plant

The completion of each phase is marked by a specific Milestone at which progress can be assessed and a decision can be made to move on to the next phase.


Three Milestones

Milestone 1: Ready to make a knowledgeable commitment to a nuclear power programme;

Milestone 2: Ready to invite bids/negotiate a contract for the first nuclear power plant;

Milestone 3: Ready to commission and operate the first nuclear power plant.


19 Nuclear Infrastructure Issues

The IAEA Milestones Approach identifies 19 nuclear infrastructure issues that need to be considered in each phase.


19 Nuclear Infrastructure Issues to be addressed in the Milestones Approach


Key Organizations

Three key organizations are involved in developing the national nuclear infrastructure; each has a specific role to play with responsibilities changing as the programme advances:

  • The Government;in this publication, it is assumed that the government will create a nuclear energy programme implementing organization (NEPIO) to coordinate the work of the organizations involved in infrastructure development;
  • The Owner/Operator of the nuclear power plant
  • The Regulatory Body;

The Milestones Document

This publication provides guidance on the activities that need to be carried out in establishing the nuclear infrastructure for a new nuclear power programme. A country can use it to ensure that:

  1. It has recognized the commitments and obligations associated with the introduction of nuclear power.
  2. It has adequately prepared the entire national infrastructure for building a nuclear power plant.
  3. It has developed all the capabilities needed to regulate and operate a nuclear power plant safely, securely and cost effectively and to manage the resulting radioactive waste.

Details on the individual phases, milestones, infrastructure issues, and the roles and responsibilities of the key organizations are explained in the IAEA guidance publication:

Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power
(IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NG-G-3.1