• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

Webinar on Safety, Security and Safeguards Interfaces and Challenges for Novel Advanced Reactors


Date and Time

Thursday, 3 February 2022

14:00 Vienna (Austria) time

Duration: 2.5 hours



The IAEA has completed a high-level mapping of applicability of the IAEA safety standards to Novel Advanced Reactors (NARs) including small modular reactors (SMRs), high temperature gas cooled reactors (HTGRs), sodium fast reactors (SFRs), lead fast reactors (LFRs), molten salt reactors (MSRs), marine-based SMRs and micro-sized reactors. The review was completed in October 2021 by the IAEA supported by a team of 150 international experts, from 30 Member States and 40 organisations including regulatory bodies and technical safety organisations, and collaboration with the safety standards committees. The outcomes of this work have been captured in a Safety Report that provides a mapping of areas of the safety standards that are technology neutral and applicable to all types of NARs and identify gaps in applicability.

During the above-mentioned activity, it was concluded that the implementation of the safety requirements for NARs at the design stage has interfaces with security and safeguards considerations. The unique features of NARs offer benefits and challenges to each area in the 3S (safety, security and safeguards) concept. As many NARs are still at a conceptual or early design stage, they present a unique opportunity to pursue a holistic approach to safety, security and safeguards and their interfaces.

The IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, in co-operation with the IAEA Department of Safeguards, together with external experts, have identified and described the safeguards and security challenges for novel advanced reactors as well as safety, security and safeguards interfaces. Identification of challenges was implemented with specific focus on Novel Advanced Reactors (NARs) characteristics, such as new fuel types, transportability features, deployment in remote locations, factory-sealed cores, and long refuelling periods. Identified challenges and interfaces are discussed and reflected in the IAEA Safety Report.


The webinar aims to:

  • Provide an overview to interested stakeholders from industry and regulatory bodies of the outcomes of the IAEA activity on safety, security and safeguards considerations for NARs, covering challenges and interfaces.
  • Provide a forum for discussions and promote the holistic approach towards safety, security and safeguards in early design stages of NARs.
  • Provide an overview of the other IAEA activities in this area.

About the presenters

Mr Don Kovacic (ORNL, US)

Mr Kovacic is a nuclear engineer with over 35 years of experience in design, operations, safety, and nonproliferation issues for nuclear energy covering regions in the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Mr. Kovacic served as a senior technical advisor to the NNSA Office of International Nuclear Safeguards as well as a Cost-Free Expert at the International Atomic Energy Agency in the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Group working with nuclear newcomer countries. He is currently a Principal Investigator with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory supporting the IAEA, NNSA, US DOE, and US NRC to identify licensing issues, policies, concepts, and approaches for applying domestic and international nuclear safeguards for advanced reactors.

Mr Duncan Barley (ONR, UK)

Mr Barley is the lead for civil nuclear security regulation for new technologies, Small Modular Reactors and the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s ‘Generic Design Assessment’ of proposed nuclear power plant designs. He previously led on the security aspects for licencing of NPPs and decommissioning. He is a Chartered Security Professional and Fellow of the UK’s Security Institute and Chartered Management Institute. Duncan’s first involvement in nuclear security policy was at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Previously he was part of the security team that delivered the 2012 Olympic games and a similar role in the oil and gas industry. During an earlier career in Defence, he spent time in academia, government departments, research establishments and assignments with international organizations including the UN, UNHCR and NATO.

Ms Paula Karhu (STUK, Finland)

Ms Karhu has worked in the field of nuclear security and non-proliferation for over 20 years. Her present position is Principal Advisor in Nuclear Security in the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), Finland. Her duties include regulatory requirements, the security inspection programme for two NPP units in operation and one in commissioning, the Design Basis Threat and liaison for the national threat assessment, and nuclear security exercises. She is involved in Finland’s national counter-terrorism strategy and CBRNE strategy. She is engaged in cooperation with other authorities at home and abroad and participates in IAEA’s nuclear security activities, including serving as Finland’s representative in the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC). Previously, Paula worked in Finland’s national nuclear safeguards regime. Before her time at STUK, she worked at the CTBTO in Vienna, setting up the global radionuclide monitoring network for verification of compliance to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. She holds a Master of Sciences Degree in Radiochemistry.

Mr Guido Renda (ECJRC)

Mr Renda is an official of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Directorate G - Nuclear Safety and Security, Unit G.II.7 - Nuclear Security, where he currently leads the project MEDAKNOW–Methodologies and Knowledge Management for nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards and security–of the Euratom Research and Training Programme 2021-2025. Former EURATOM Safeguards Inspector, his main areas of research are the development and application of concepts and methods for Nuclear Safeguards and nonproliferation, with particular focus on the Proliferation Resistance and safeguardability analysis of innovative nuclear systems, Safeguards by design, the support to the IAEA State Level Concept, the investigation of the synergies between nuclear safety, safeguards and security (3S) and the investigation of the potential of open source information to inform the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Involved in the Generation IV International Forum Proliferation Resistance and Physical Protection Working Group (GIF PRPPWG) activities since the early stages, he participated to the development of the GIF PR&PP Evaluation Methodology and the related PRPPWG case studies and applications. He currently serves as the co-chair of the GIF PRPPWG. Dr. Renda holds a MSc in Nuclear Engineering from the Politecnico of Milan (Italy) and a PhD in Civil Engineering, Systems Group, from the University of Bristol (UK).

Stay in touch