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INPRO Methodology

Assessment Methodology for Innovative Nuclear Energy Systems

It is important that there be a broadly accepted technical metric defining nuclear energy system sustainability. This is essential to guide assessments given the long life cycles of nuclear installations, the large capital investment requirements, the lasting technological implications, the inter-generational nature of nuclear waste management and disposition, and the environmental benefits of carbon, particulate and other emissions avoidance. Ultimately, increasing the sustainability of nuclear energy is essential for the maintenance of national stakeholder consensus regarding nuclear energy systems in the long-term.

INPRO developed a set of basic principles, user requirements and criteria, together with an assessment method, which constitute the INPRO methodology, for the evaluation of a national or global nuclear energy system with regard to its long term sustainability.

The INPRO Methodology covers the six topical areas, that were listed in the UN Brundtland Commission Report and relevant to the assessment of long-term nuclear energy system sustainability: environmental impacts (resource depletion and stressors), safety (reactors and fuel cycle), proliferation resistance, waste management, infrastructure (including physical protection), and economics.

The ultimate goal of the application of the INPRO methodology is to check whether the nuclear energy system assessed fulfils all the criteria and hence the user requirements and basic principles and therefore represents a long term sustainable system for a Member State (or group of Member States). One possible output from an assessment is the identification of areas where a given nuclear energy system needs to be improved. Given the comprehensive nature of an assessment using the INPRO methodology, such an assessment would be expected to indicate clearly the specific attributes of an nuclear energy system that need to be improved.

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