A total of 60 countries are now considering nuclear power as part of their future energy mix, while 20 of them might have a nuclear power programme in place by 2030, according to the IAEA´s nuclear energy department. Many of these states are turning to the IAEA for help to assess their energy needs and possibly develop a national policy for nuclear power.
"Over the next two years, the IAEA is expected to assist 38 national and 6 regional nuclear programmes, a three-fold increase from the previous reported period," says Yury Sokolov, IAEA´s Deputy Director General of Nuclear Energy.
In opening a workshop dedicated to IAEA tools developed to help member states with their energy planning assessments, Sokolov stressed that countries should have a holistic approach and a long-term commitment while designing national nuclear power programme. This approach includes both nuclear infrastructure as well as energy planning and nuclear energy system assessment.
"A national energy policy should involve a proper assessment of a country´s energy needs. Based on this analysis, nuclear´s role can be defined," he said.
"Nuclear is a 100-year-long commitment and its sustainability, taking into account both natural and human resources together with the other aspects, should be considered."
Global demand for energy is expected to continue to increase significantly as countries everywhere seek to improve living standards, with most of this growth predicted to come from developing countries. They represent a major target for the IAEA´s activity in this area.
"The aim of the IAEA´s Technical Cooperation (TC) project on promoting technology development and application of future nuclear energy systems in developing countries is to enable developing countries to assess nuclear technologies and create a forum between the countries and technology suppliers," says the IAEA´s Ivan Videnovic, a Programme Management Officer from TC.
"Starting with national sustainable development plans, the workshop for the first time presents an integrated view on two planning steps: energy planning and nuclear energy system assessments, including the corresponding Agency tools and support for Member States´ decision-making for both steps," says Peter J. Gowin, INPRO Programme Liaison Officer and Technical Officer of the TC project.
Fifty experts from over 40 countries are taking part in the Workshop on IAEA Tools for Nuclear Energy System Assessment (NESA) for Long-Term Planning and Development. The event is being held at the IAEA´s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 20-23 July.
The IAEA offers a series of tools and services to Member States relating to energy planning and sustainable nuclear energy development and deployment.
They include integrated long-term energy planning tools, such as Planning and Economic Studies Section (PESS) models and indicators; nuclear energy system assessments tools, such as the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) methodology, and nuclear infrastructure development tools and services for newcomers, such as the Milestones document and infrastructure review missions.
IAEA TC support for Member States is also available in all these areas.