IAEA tool to help roadmap nuclear programmes

15 June 2018

A new tool to help national authorities make strategic decisions about the development of nuclear power has been developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Roadmaps tool can also be used to identify how countries can benefit from innovations in nuclear technology and infrastructure, both nationally and through cooperation with other countries.

Last month, experts from 16 countries finalised the results of the project on 'Roadmaps for a transition to globally sustainable nuclear energy systems' – or Roadmaps, for short – and its final report, to be published by the IAEA.

The new tool was developed over the last four years by those experts and will help countries develop roadmaps to "achieve, enhance and monitor an increasingly sustainable nuclear energy system in the long term", the IAEA said.

A nuclear energy system can be assessed by applying the IAEA's International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors (INPRO) methodology in order to determine if it is sustainable. The IAEA said this methodology is "a complex and holistic assessment method of the entire nuclear energy system in several key areas: economics, infrastructure, waste management, proliferation resistance, safety and environment".

Roadmapping can also address other issues, including the evolution of nuclear energy systems over time, the domestic production versus import of products and services such as entire nuclear power plants, fuel, maintenance and operations services, as well as preferences about innovative technologies and potential cooperation with other countries.

"Undertaking roadmapping for a national nuclear energy system facilitates finding answers to several key questions," said Vladimir Kuznetsov from the IAEA's INPRO Section, who has led the project. "The major one is how to get from the present system to a future national nuclear energy system with enhanced sustainability, and to do that efficiently - without excessive investments in national infrastructure."

Kuznetsov added, "Roadmapping that is performed in cooperation among technology users and suppliers could also provide strategic insights into international markets for products and services for the various peaceful uses of nuclear energy."

The Roadmaps tool could help technology suppliers better plan expansions or reductions of their industrial capacities, while technology users would have a clearer picture from where the required products and services could be procured and where there could be bottlenecks.

Five countries - Armenia, Belarus, Romania, Russia and Ukraine - have applied the Roadmaps tool on a trial basis and developed examples of national plans. Their case studies provided valuable feedback for fine-tuning the approach, the IAEA said.

The Agency will make the roadmapping tool available to Member States and provide training in its application, as part of a new service that assists countries in scenario modelling and decision support analysis for the development of nuclear energy systems with enhanced sustainability.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News