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IAEA and GIF to Cooperate on Integrated Energy Systems, Nuclear Heat Applications and Advanced Manufacturing


Wind turbine and the Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, France. (Photo: Getty)

The IAEA and the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) have agreed to expand their cooperation to include areas in the field of integrated energy systems, nuclear heat applications and hydrogen production, and advanced manufacturing. The increased cooperation was agreed by the participants of the 15th GIF‑IAEA Interface Meeting held virtually last month, and represents a major milestone in the long-lasting cooperation between the two organizations.

“For the last fifteen years, annual interface meetings have provided us with an opportunity to review our joint work, but also to explore new areas for future cooperation,” said Dohee Hahn, Director of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Power. “Thanks to such approach, we have come a long way from the initial cooperation that focused on evaluation methodologies, proliferation resistance and physical protection, economic and GEN IV technologies.”

During the meeting, participants addressed the topics of technology development, economics, and various applications, including non-electric applications, of innovative nuclear systems. The discussion also covered safeguards by design, modeling and simulation, as well as education and training. Both organizations presented their work on developing safety standards or safety assessment methodology applicable to novel advanced reactors, and agreed to provide mutual external review and potential participation in safety related activities. They also highlighted the ongoing activities and plans on proliferation resistance and physical protection (PR&PP), which involve a series of crosscutting topics.

“Historically we have had good cooperation, and its importance has increased over the time, also reflected in the decision to cooperate on a specific category of advanced reactors, such as small modular reactors,” said GIF Chair Hideki Kamide of Japan. “And now we also have an agreement on new fields of activities which will enhance our cooperation.”

At the meeting, IAEA experts presented the new initiative to provide national governments, experts and regulators with integrated Agency-wide support on all aspects of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) development, deployment and oversight. They also introduced FRAMES, a new modelling tool for integrated energy systems assessment under development, which helps in quantifying the economic value that nuclear brings to low carbon energy systems and is therefore a valuable tool for informing policy makers and performing techno economic evaluations. GIF representatives provided an update of GIF activities and highlighted recent developments on the six GEN IV systems as well as introduced the new GIF initiative and Task Forces on Non-electrical applications of Nuclear Heat and Advanced Manufacturing and Material Engineering. They can trigger large progress in safety, reliability, and economy of GEN-IV systems, including SMRs.

GIF IAEA Interface

The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) is focused on the research, development, and demonstration of six selected innovative nuclear reactor design concepts. As part of this activity, GIF working groups have developed and maintain a suite of tools to analyze and compare different design alternatives related to the GIF reactor concepts from the perspectives of: economics and sustainability, safety and reliability, and proliferation resistance and security.

The IAEA supports Member States in the development of innovative advanced nuclear energy systems across the whole spectrum of technical areas.

Shared interests between GIF and the IAEA have been confirmed in annual interface meetings held at the IAEA since 2003. Areas of technical dialogue, coordination and cooperation have been explored in each of these meetings.

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