INPRO and GIF Discuss Innovative Technologies

Opening session of the 7th GIF-INPRO Interface Meeting, IAEA, 28 February 2013

2013-03-04 | 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 28 February to 1 March to share information on progress and future activities related to R&D and technology innovation of nuclear energy systems. This was the 7th Interface Meeting between the two organizations since 2003.

“Our cooperation is important for the future of nuclear power, particularly for innovative reactors, small and medium-sized reactors and more sustainable systems – these are all areas which are covered in the IAEA’s technical programme”, said Mr Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy.

“Assessment, analysis and dissemination of information among Member States regarding evolutionary and advanced reactor technologies, and closed sustainable fuel cycles including transition from thermal to fast reactors remain a high priority for the Department of Nuclear Energy”, DDG Bychkov added.

“GIF is currently conducting a strategic planning exercise and one of the recommendations of this exercise is that we need to strengthen our relationships with other organizations such as the IAEA”, stated Mr John Kelly, the new Chair of GIF. “Our relationship with INPRO and IAEA Technical Working Groups is among the most important of our outreach activities and we need to continue to build on this success”.

GIF coordinates research activities on six next generation nuclear energy 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.

Nuclear safety was a major discussion item: IAEA experts from the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security provided a briefing on the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan for Nuclear Safety, on the IAEA Design and Safety Assessment Review Service (DSARS) and generic reactor safety reviews.

Many other activities, such as the European Project on Safety Assessment for Reactors of Generation IV (SARGEN IV), the GIF evaluation methodology in the area of safety and the GIF-IAEA Workshop on SFR Safety Design Criteria, held on the two preceding days, are focused on the development of the safety basis of this next generation nuclear system.

“We also presented latest developments in the INPRO Collaborative Projects SYNERGIES and ROADMAPS and provided an overview of the planned revision of the INPRO Methodology”, explained Mr Jon Phillips from the INPRO Group, who served as Scientific Secretary of the meeting.

GIF and the IAEA/INPRO have been cooperating on assessment methodologies in the areas of proliferation resistance and economics for several years.

“This was a very productive meeting with substantial and substantive discussions. This is reflective of the fact that the collaboration between our two organizations has deepened so that the various working groups and task forces are actually helping each other learn how our methods are similar and how they are different and that increases the learning of both organizations”, stated GIF Chair John Kelly. “I was very happy to see the progress that INPRO has made on their methodologies and that they are maturing. These methodologies are very relevant for our Generation IV systems, so we look forward to their application in the future.”

“The R&D efforts moving forward under Generation IV are pushing the forefront of reactor technology. I applaud your efforts, the example of your cooperation and our continuing collaboration and dialogue”, concluded Mr Bychkov in closing the 7th GIF-INPRO Interface Meeting.

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By Elisabeth Dyck, Department of Nuclear Energy