Revising the IAEA's Milestones Document

Participants from the meeting to discuss the update of the Milestones document.
(Photo: M. Yagi/IAEA)

2014-05-30│Forty-four experts from 30 Member States met at the IAEA this week to discuss the revision of one of the Agency's key guidance documents for nuclear newcomers: "Milestones in the Development for a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power".

First published in 2007 in response to rising expectations about nuclear power, this Nuclear Energy (NE) Series publication document is widely used and provides the basis for Agency work in this area.

"All Member States planning for their first nuclear power plant are using the framework and terminology of the Agency's Milestones approach in developing their national nuclear infrastructure", said Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. "This publication has been very well received by Member States and it is one of our most popular documents".

Updating the document is timely, to take into account several developments over the past seven years:

  • The revision incorporates lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident and the implementation of the IAEA's Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.
  • In 2009 the IAEA began offering Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions, based on the 'Milestones framework', to countries introducing or expanding nuclear power. These have generated practical lessons learned that are to be incorporated in this revision.
  • Since 2007 the IAEA has published more detailed advice on many of the 19 nuclear infrastructure issues summarized in this document. Those documents incorporate developments after 2007, and this revision will harmonize this document with those more detailed publications.
  • When the IAEA's NE Series was started, it instituted a practice of at least reviewing, and updating as necessary, all NE Series documents regularly.
  • The Milestones document made assumptions about how countries would introduce nuclear power based on past experience as it stood at the time, but the strategic environment has changed.

"For example, we assumed in 2007 that countries would likely use a competitive bidding process and did not anticipate the use of direct negotiations through intergovernmental agreements or the use of alternative contracting and ownership arrangements", said Anne Starz, Acting Section Head of the IAEA Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section. "Currently, Turkey is using a Build-Own-Operate, or BOO, approach under an intergovernmental agreement with the Russian Federation".

The revision of the "Milestones" started already in 2012 with an extensive internal review. The annual Nuclear Infrastructure Workshop in February 2014 was the first opportunity to discuss the document with Member States and receive feedback. Prior to this week's meeting, the Agency had received over 600 individual comments from Member States.

The meeting provided ample opportunity for Member States to share their views on the current draft of the revision of the 'Milestones' document and provide clear guidance to the IAEA Secretariat for the finalization of the document. It is planned to publish the revised version of "Milestones in the Development for a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power" towards the end of 2014.