Australia becomes active member of GIF

18 September 2017

Australia has formally acceded to the Framework Agreement of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), an international task force set up to develop and design the next generation of nuclear energy systems. Accession allows Australia, which has no nuclear power program of its own, to become actively engaged in R&D projects related to Generation IV systems.

Ansto CEO Adi Paterson speaks at a ceremony marking Australia's accession (Image: Ansto)

Australia became the 14th member of the GIF in June 2016 when the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) signed the GIF Charter. It deposited its instrument of accession to the Framework Agreement on 14 September and was officially welcomed to the organisation at a ceremony in Paris.

The GIF - a cooperative international endeavour to develop and design the next generation of nuclear energy systems - was founded in 2001 by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the UK and the USA. Switzerland joined in 2002, Euratom in 2003, and China and Russia in 2006, followed by Australia in 2016.

The GIF Framework Agreement was established in 2005. Its parties are formally committed to participate in the development of one or more so-called Generation IV systems selected by GIF for further R&D. Australia is now the 11th party to accede to the agreement: Argentina, Brazil and the UK are not parties to the agreement and are classed as non-active members of the GIF, although the UK currently participates in GIF activities through Euratom.

Ansto CEO Adi Paterson said the Framework Agreement would enable Australia to contribute to the development of the "international energy systems of the future". Participation in the GIF was an "affirmation of Australia's exemplary research capabilities and STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] industry, strengthened by Ansto's expertise and highly developed nuclear science infrastructure", he said.

Paterson said Ansto would "leverage its world-class capabilities", particularly in relation to advanced materials with applications in extreme industrial environments, and nuclear safety cases.

Members of the GIF are working collaboratively to develop nuclear energy systems which will use fuel more efficiently, produce less waste, and be more economically competitive than previous systems while meeting stringent standards in relation to safety and non-proliferation. The forum in 2002 selected six reactor technologies which they believe represent the future shape of nuclear energy to be the subject of further development, with expenditure of about $6 billion over 15 years. The six concepts are: gas-cooled fast reactors; lead-cooled fast reactors; molten salt fast reactors; sodium-cooled fast reactors; supercritical water-cooled reactors; and very high temperature gas-cooled reactors.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News