Establishing Strategies for the Expansion of National Nuclear Power

Technical Meeting on Strategies for the Expansion of Nuclear Power Programmes, 16-19 October 2012, Beijing, China

The expansion of a nuclear power programme in a country and its successful implementation is largely dependent on the established national infrastructure covering a wide range of activities and capabilities. Formalized strategic partnerships may contribute significantly to the strengthening of existing capabilities.

The IAEA, in cooperation with the China Atomic Energy Agency (CAEA) recently organized a technical meeting in Beijing to discuss strategies for the expansion of nuclear power programmes.

"It is very important that the IAEA supports the expansion of national nuclear power programmes" said Mr Wang Minzheng, Director General of International Cooperation of CAEA in his opening address.

"Most of the new nuclear power builds which are planned or under construction are in Asia", said Mr Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy in a video address. "The established users such as China, India, the Repulic of Korea and the Russian Federation plan significant expansions of their nuclear power programmes", he added.

In particular, the meeting provided an opportunity to exchange specific information on the experience, benefits, risks, difficulties and challenges of building strategic partnerships in established nuclear countries and in 'newcomer' countries.

These partnerships can be built, for example, between the owner/operator of a nuclear power plant and the vendor or design authority for the plant which needs to last for the entire plant life, or the owner/operator and suppliers of plant equipment, educational institutions, and major customers for electrical output.

Strategic partnerships can also be formed between the different regulators in a country, i.e. those responsible for nuclear safety, environmental protection, security, etc, and between nuclear regulatory bodies of the country where the nuclear power plant is to be built, the vendor country or other countries.

"It is not expected that there will be partnerships between the owner/operator of a plant and the regulators because of the need to maintain independence of the regulators, although the need for effective working relationships is fully appreciated", said Ms Xiaoping Li, who served as IAEA Scientific Secretary of the meeting.

The participants also reviewed two IAEA documents on nuclear power expansion and on strategic partnerships, to be issued soon, and recommended that the IAEA initiates Technical Cooperation projects to support nuclear power expansion efforts in Member States.

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