TWG on Fast Reactors Discusses latest Developments

Participants at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Fast Reactors (TWG-FR)

2013-05-30 | Reflecting a global network of excellence and expertise, the members of the IAEA Technical Working Group on Fast Reactors (TWG-FR) met at the IAEA on 21−24 May 2013 for their 46th meeting. It is the IAEA’s annual event to discuss current activities in the development of fast reactors and accelerator-driven systems in IAEA Member States and exchange information on national and international programmes in this field. The meeting was chaired by Mr Alfredo Vasile from CEA, France.

“In the last years the fast reactor community has achieved very promising results in the field of Generation IV safety design criteria, prevention and mitigation of severe accidents, advanced structural materials and innovative fuels, and others”, said Mr Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy. “However we are also very well aware that many challenges are still to be tackled by the fast reactor community”.

Continued R&D and technology innovations are needed on fast reactor and related fuel cycle technologies. International cooperation remains a primary means by which progress can be achieved to make fast reactors an attractive option for electricity production in the near future.

The meeting was briefed about recent IAEA achievements in the area, including the International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles (FR13) Conference in Paris in March.

“We also held two workshops on fast reactors safety, an education and training seminar on fast reactors technology in cooperation with Argentina, and made contributions to other IAEA education and training initiatives” said Mr Stefano Monti, Scientific Secretary of the TWG-FR and IAEA Team Leader for Fast reactor Technology Development.

Several coordinated research projects (CRPs) with active participation of Member States are ongoing or planned. The CRP on “Benchmark Analysis of an EBR-II Shutdown Heat Removal Test” held its first meeting in 2012. A CPR on “Sodium Properties and Safe Operation of Experimental Facilities in Support of the Development and Deployment of SFR - NAPRO”, proposed by France, will be established in 2013, and a CRP on “Source Term for Radioactivity Release under Fast Reactor Disruptive Accident (CDA) Conditions”, proposed by India, will be launched in 2014.

During the meeting, China proposed a CRP on “Benchmark analyses of CEFR reactor physics based on a physical start-up experiment” and Japan proposed a CRP on “Benchmark Analyses of Sodium Natural Convection in the Upper Plenum of then MONJU Reactor”.

“The TWG-FR experts confirmed the importance of international collaborations”, said Mr Monti. “This refers to key areas such as advanced simulation and modelling, technologies for fast reactors in-service inspections and fuel handling, core monitoring, and inherent and passive safety features”, he added.

The 46th TWG-FR was attended by 22 representatives from Argentina, Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine and the United States of America, as well as by representatives of the OECD/NEA and the European Commission.

Related Resources

International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles: Safe Technologies and Sustainable Scenarios (FR13)

Joint GIF-IAEA Workshop on Safety Design Criteria for Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors

Status of Fast Reactor Research and Technology Development, IAEA TECDOC 1691

Liquid Metal Coolants for Fast Reactors (Reactors Cooled by Sodium, Lead and Lead-bismuth Eutectic) IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-1.6