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[en] The world needs energy to support everyday life and drive human and economic development. In 2019, over 26 000 terawatt-hours of electricity were produced worldwide. This electricity is being produced by a range of energy sources, mostly fossil fuels but also nuclear power and renewables such as solar, hydro and wind. Energy production and use are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions around the world. As greenhouse gases are a driving force behind climate change, countries worldwide are actively working on a clean energy transition by changing how energy is produced. Here’s a closer look at the clean energy transition and what role nuclear power plays.
[en] Nuclear power combined with smart power grids — the two-way networks that connect producers to consumers and use new technologies to do so — can help countries transition to low carbon electricity sources and ensure reliable, stable and sustainable energy supplies. Many countries are diversifying their mix of low carbon energy sources to help them decarbonize their economies and achieve their climate goals. This has led to a global shift towards renewable energy sources; however, these sources alone are not able to fully and reliably meet demand.
[en] In the last decades the use of satellite images and remote sensing for agricultural activities has increased to encompass factors such as plant growth or biomass. However, satellite images may not be available for all regions or during all seasons (cloud cover) and precision agriculture requires smaller resolutions for mapping small elements as for example trees or smaller crops. The application of multispectral cameras mounted on UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) is therefore a new and fast developing market and methodology. In order to explore its opportunities a training course on the use of UAVs and multispectral camera systems in agriculture was organized for the staff of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in Vienna, Seibersdorf from 23-27 September 2019. The course was led by Mr Erik de Badts (Micasense) but included several guest lecturers from different companies and research facilities. In total six staff members from the SWMCN laboratory and section participated. The course provided insights into the different UAVs available, camera systems, software and data processing programmes. IAEA staff learnt how to plan a UAV survey and process acquired data.
[en] The world is far off track when it comes to meeting the Paris Agreement climate goals of limiting the global temperature increase by 1.5°C to 2°C by 2050. Current projections show that fossil fuels will still make up the majority of world energy use by 2050. If we miss the 1.5°C target, this could mean accepting climate impacts, such as millions of people being displaced by sea level rise and millions more being exposed to extreme heatwaves, as well as major biodiversityrelated impacts, including species loss, the elimination of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, and the loss of virtually all coral reefs. If we miss the 2°C target, half the world’s population could be exposed to summertime ‘deadly heat,’ Antarctic ice sheets could collapse, droughts could increase massively, and the Sahara Desert could begin to expand into southern Europe. World food supplies could be imperilled, driving mass human migration and leading to a growing risk of civilizational collapse. The Clean Energy Ministerial Flexible Nuclear Campaign we co-founded explores the expanded role that nuclear energy can play in de-risking the energy transition. Here, we describe two opportunities to drive deeper decarbonization with nuclear energy. The first is to expand the role of nuclear energy in electricity production through a combination of advanced reactors and thermal energy storage. This is intended to complement renewables in future energy grids. The second is to address the use of oil and gas, which currently accounts for three quarters of energy consumption, by providing large-scale, low-cost hydrogen produced with nuclear power.
[en] In the United States, an approach to manage the aging of spent fuel dry storage systems was created by contributions from the regulatory body, storage facility owners, cask vendors, and the engineering community. The U.S. regulations for storing spent fuel beyond the first approved storage term require aging management activities to ensure that materials degradation will not adversely affect the safe storage of the spent fuel. Several guidance documents provide recommendations for complying with this regulation. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) developed NUREG-1927 and NEI 14-03, respectively, to describe methods to identify the components that support a safety function, to evaluate the aging mechanisms could affect safety, and to establish aging management activities. The NEI guidance also introduces a new system to share operating experience through an Institute of Nuclear Power Operations database. The NRC also developed NUREG-2214 to identify the credible materials aging mechanisms for several cask designs used in the United States. NUREG-2214 also provides example aging management programs that may be used to effectively manage aging. Those programs rely, in part, on consensus codes and standards for monitoring and inspection guidelines, such as American Concrete Institute codes and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. Finally, to provide oversight of aging management activities, the NRC is developing internal procedures to evaluate, through inspection, the storage facilities’ performance of their aging management programs. Lessons learned from NRC Temporary Instruction TI 2690/011 will inform the development of a new NRC inspection procedure. (author)
[en] Summary: • SMR is an attractive option to enhance energy supply security: - In embarking countries with smaller grids, remote areas and the need of non electric applications; - In expanding nuclear countries for facilitating transition to low carbon energy systems. • Innovative SMR designs and concepts have common impediments to address including regulatory and licensing frameworks; • Studies needed to evaluate potential benefits of deploying SMRs in grid systems that contain large percentages of renewable energy. • Studies needed to: develop Generic User Requirements & Criteria, assess Technology Readiness, address manufacturing aspects, and establish a robust supply chain; • IAEA assists Member States in all aspects of SMR development: infrastructure, safety, safeguards, security, economics, and so forth.
[en] Summary: The NEPIO is responsible for the overall coordination of the programme and should ensure the engagement of all important parties - Should include representatives from all relevant ministries and organizations, Establish competent working groups in Phase 1, Evolve in Phases 2 & 3 with NEPIO monitoring progress, coordinating and leading as needed; Strong commitment and support from the government is necessary; NEPIO should be clearly charged at a high level and given necessary authority and resources; Must be able to communicate and interact effectively with all relevant stakeholders.
[en] Summary: INPRO was established 20 years ago following a recommendation from the General Conference; INPRO contributed to better understanding of how nuclear energy can become a sustainable energy option; INPRO created knowledge and tools that can be used to ensure the sustainability of nuclear energy; INPRO Members guide directions, but INPRO s results and tools are available to all IAEA Member States.
[en] As part of its efforts to help resolve the major climate and energy issues facing future generations over the next decades, France is committed to a global energy transition materialised through the Act of 17 August 2015 on the energy transition for green growth (LTECV). This act defines the main objectives for the medium and long term. Among these objectives, it is worth highlighting: — Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2030, and a 4-fold reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2050; — Development of renewable energy sources to reach 23% of the gross final energy consumption in 2020 and then 32% in 2030; — Reduction in nuclear energy’s contribution to electricity generation to reach 50% by around 2035. To achieve these objectives, the LTECV Act specifies the definition of a French national strategy to lower carbon emissions (SNBC) and a multi-year energy programme (PPE). The first version of this programme covers the periods 2016 to 2018 and 2018 to 2023. It must be reviewed every 5 years over a 10-year period. The main orientations of this PPE programme for the 2019-2028 period were published by the French government within the scope of a project announced in January 2019; they will be open to public consultation before their adoption scheduled for the end of summer. (author)
[en] The experience of nuclear fuel cycle facilities operation shows that explosions during reprocessing of radioactive material could lead to release of radioactive elements with consequences for environmental. The root cause of many of them is chemical interactions with heat and gas generation. Hazard identification methods have been developing for many years, but the specifics of the nuclear industry requires to adapt the approaches. The chemical processes are going to be used for solving the radioactive waste problems that means that the agreed by the scientific community approaches of the safety assessment should be developed. (author)