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International Conference on Small Modular Reactors and their Applications

21–25 October 2024, Vienna, Austria

International Conference on Small Modular Reactors and their Applications 2024


Global demand for energy is increasing as countries strive to develop their economies and sustain their societies in a context of climate change. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) projections estimate that electricity consumption will almost double by 2050. However, over 60% of global electricity generation comes from unabated fossil fuels, the largest contributor to climate change. In order to address the challenge of powering their socioeconomic development and ensuring energy supply security while protecting the planet, a growing number of countries are expanding or looking to nuclear power as a low carbon yet reliable energy source.

Nuclear power is the second-largest source of low carbon electricity today, following hydropower, and accounts for about 25% of the world’s clean electricity. Thirty-one countries operate more than 400 nuclear power reactors, and about 30 others are interested in introducing nuclear into their energy mix. While currently operating reactors continue to be at the forefront of electricity decarbonization in many countries, nuclear innovation is bringing forth new technologies and designs such as small modular reactors (SMRs), which may offer a viable option for achieving clean and abundant energy accessible to more countries.

SMRs have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e)—about one third of the generating capacity of a traditional nuclear power reactor. Their components may be mass manufactured in factories and then transported and installed on sites, which may make them more affordable and faster to build. SMRs may also be sited in remote locations and in areas lacking sufficient transmission lines and grid capacity. Finally, SMRs are being considered for both electric and non-electric applications and are suitable for flexible operation, providing stability to electrical grids in integrated energy systems that combine nuclear, variable renewables, and energy storage to provide resilient and clean energy supply to different users in the form of heat, electricity, and hydrogen.

Significant advances have been made in recent years in SMR design and technology development, and there are over 80 SMR designs at different stages of development globally. These types of reactors may use innovative safety technologies including a substantial use of passive and inherent safety features, different types of fuels and coolants, and different approaches to practically all aspects of a reactor lifecycle, such as construction, commissioning, operation, decommissioning, radioactive waste and spent fuel management, and transportation. SMR designers are also considering new approaches to security and safeguards by design. Similar to traditional nuclear power plants, SMR vendors and operators will be required to demonstrate that novel aspects of SMRs comply with safety requirements. The first SMR units are already in operation in China and Russia, while other countries are preparing for their commissioning. Some of them are undergoing pre-licensing or licensing reviews, while others completed these steps and have entered or are expected to enter commercial operation in this decade. A larger deployment of different types of SMRs, including microreactors, is expected in 2030 and beyond.

The IAEA supports the efforts of Member States in the development and safe and secure deployment of SMRs. To accelerate those efforts, the IAEA established the IAEA Platform on SMRs and their Applications (SMR Platform) and the Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative (NHSI). The SMR Platform is a focal point for the IAEA’s activities in this field and provides coordinated support and expertise from across the entire Agency. At the same time, NHSI brings together policy makers, regulators, designers, vendors, and operators to enhance the harmonization of regulatory approaches and the wider standardization of industrial approaches to ensure the safe and secure deployment of SMRs. The IAEA has also conducted a thorough review of the Agency’s Safety Standards for applicability to SMRs and non-water-cooled reactors.

To take stock of various global activities related to SMRs, as well as discuss emerging challenges and opportunities, the IAEA is organizing the first International Conference on Small Modular Reactors and their Applications in Vienna, Austria, from 21 to 25 October 2024.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this conference is to provide an international forum to take stock of the progress and discuss the opportunities, challenges and enabling conditions for the accelerated development and safe and secure deployment of SMRs among all possible stakeholders for SMRs.

The primary objectives are to:

  • Present and discuss the up-to-date design and technology of SMRs and microreactors and their associated fuel cycle approaches;
  • Address the safety, security, and safeguards approaches specific to SMRs;  
  • Discuss legislative and regulatory frameworks and existing practices in regulation of SMR design, development, and deployment.
  • Consider ways to facilitate the near-term deployment of SMRs, including financing and contracting approaches;
  • Discuss the status of national nuclear energy programmes in the Member States by highlighting technical and non-technical expectations and end-user requirements to SMRs design; and
  • Share information on recent Member State and IAEA initiatives relating to SMR development and deployment, including NHSI, and foster international collaboration among all stakeholders.

It is expected that this conference will help catalyse current activities in Member States and enhance prospects of safe and secure SMR deployment that will offer options for achieving clean energy transition and energy supply security in both embarking and expanding countries.


To demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, the IAEA will organize this conference as a 'green meeting' according to the guidelines of the Austrian Ecolabel.

There will be a focus on the areas of paper smart documentation, waste reduction and recycling, and environmentally friendly catering.

Conference app

The IAEA Conferences and Meetings App provides a one-stop access to information on the Conference, exhibitions and scheduled side events. The app also allows users to put together their own personalized schedule of events. Via this app participants will be able to view contributed papers and the latest conference programme, message other participants, and view PowerPoint presentations released after the event. Participants will receive an email inviting them to register for the app approximately one week before the conference.

For iPhone or iPad users, get your free download through the App Store; those with Android devices can visit the Google Play Store.

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