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[en] One of the key challenges for the future expansion of nuclear power in the US is the current lack of a strategy for the long-term management of our commercially-used nuclear fuel. For nuclear energy to continue being a substantial contributor to the U.S. energy mix, the nuclear industry needs to develop and demonstrate a viable option for the nuclear fuel cycle that enables the safe, secure, economic, and sustainable expansion of nuclear energy while minimizing proliferation and terrorism risks. Given the political challenges facing the nuclear fuel cycle, it is crucial that sound technical and technological solutions be developed to secure the understanding and the support of the relevant stakeholders for these solutions. This project aimed to design a successful strategy to re-brand the nuclear fuel cycle into a familiar and lowrisk concept whose contribution to people’s everyday life is perceived as positive.
[en] Nuclear Energy: An Essential Element for Deep Global Decarbonisation: Radically decarbonising the electricity sector to 50 gCO2/kWh in a cost-effective manner while maintaining security of supply requires: – Ambitious decarbonisation targets require the optimum use of all low-carbon technologies; – Recognising and allocating system costs to the technologies that cause them; – Fostering truly competitive short-term markets for the cost-efficient dispatch of resources; – Encouraging new investment in all low-carbon technologies by providing stability for investors; – Designing markets that value adequate capacity, transmission and distribution, and flexibility – Implementation of carbon pricing –an efficient approach for decarbonising electricity.
[en] The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has established a programme in nuclear reactor simulation computer programs to assist Member States in education and training. The objective is to provide, for a variety of advanced water-cooled reactor types, insight and practice in their operational characteristics and their response to perturbations and accident situations. To achieve this, the IAEA arranges for the supply or development of simulation programs and training material, sponsors training courses and workshops, and distributes documentation and computer programs. Currently the IAEA has simulation programs available for distribution that simulate the behavior of BWR, Passive BWR, HWR, PWR, Passive PWR and VVER reactor types. The desktop simulator codes provide insight and understanding of the designs as well as a clear understanding of the operational characteristics of the various reactor types. The simulators operate on personal computers and are provided for a broad audience of technical and non-technical personnel as an introductory educational tool. The preferred audience, however, are faculty members interested in developing nuclear engineering courses with the support of these very effective hands-on educational tools. The application of the simulator programs is limited to providing general response characteristics of selected types of power reactor systems and they are not intended to be used for plant-specific purposes such as design, safety evaluation, licensing or operator training. (author)
[en] The nuclear fuel cycle in the United States, specifically the back end portion, remains an unresolved and persistent issue. In comparison with the technical aspects of many different fuel cycles, less attention has been given to public perceptions and attitudes toward certain alternatives. Understanding what the general public values in terms of a nuclear fuel cycle will assist in selecting a nuclear fuel cycle that optimizes the balance between technical feasibility and public acceptance. A multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) model was created to incorporate the general public's perceptions on qualified individuals and on important technical and non-technical aspects of any general fuel cycle. Analyzing the pair-wise comparisons for each criterion through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) yielded the relative importance of each aspect. A major finding is that the general public tend to view environmental scientists as qualified as nuclear engineers and scientists in selecting a method of used nuclear fuel disposal for the United States. (authors)
[en] As the number of countries considering the deployment of additional nuclear power plants increases, more Member States have turned to the IAEA for information and assistance in the preparation of their nuclear power programmes. In response to Member State's needs, the IAEA has implemented an activity on 'Technology Assessment' whose goal is to provide Member States with the technical expertise and a systematic process to be able to evaluate the technical merits of the various nuclear technologies available on the market and to select the ones that better fit their specific needs. (author)
[en] One of the key roles of the IAEA is to foster the collaboration among Member States on the development of advances in technology for advanced nuclear power plants. There is high international interest, both in developing and industrialized countries, in innovative supercritical water-cooled reactors (SCWRs), primarily because such concepts will achieve high thermal efficiencies (44-45%) and promise improved economic competitiveness utilizing and building upon the recent developments for highly efficient fossil power plants. The SCWR has been selected as one of the promising concepts for development by the Generation-IV International Forum. Following the advice of the IAEA Nuclear Energy Department's Technical Working Groups on Advanced Technologies for LWRs and HWRs (the TWG-LWR and TWG-HWR), with the feedback from the Gen-IV SCWR Steering Committee, and in coordination with the OECD-NEA, IAEA has recently started a Coordinated Research Programme (CRP) in the areas of heat transfer behaviour and testing of thermo-hydraulic computer methods for Supercritical Water-Cooled Reactors. The first Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) of the CRP was held at the IAEA Headquarters, in Vienna, Austria in July 2008. This paper summarizes the current status of the CRP, including the Integrated Research Plan and the general schedule for the CRP. (author)
[en] The length of the construction and commissioning phases of nuclear power plants have historically been longer than for conventional fossil fuelled plants, often having a record of delays and cost overruns as a result from several factors including legal interventions and revisions of safety regulations. Recent nuclear construction projects however, have shown that long construction periods for nuclear power plants are no longer the norm. While there are several inter-related factors that influence the construction time, the use of advanced construction techniques has contributed significantly to reducing the construction length of recent nuclear projects. (author)
[en] One of the key roles of the IAEA is to foster the collaboration among Member States on the development of advances in technology for advanced nuclear power plants. There is high international interest, both in developing and industrialized countries, in innovative supercritical water-cooled reactors (SCWRs), primarily because such concepts will achieve high thermal efficiencies (44-45%) and promise improved economic competitiveness utilizing and building upon the recent developments for highly efficient fossil power plants. The SCWR has been selected as one of the promising concepts for development by the Generation-IV International Forum. Following the advice of the IAEA Nuclear Energy Department's Technical Working Groups on Advanced Technologies for LWRs and HWRs (the TWG-LWR and TWG-HWR), with the feedback from the Gen-IV SCWR Steering Committee, and in coordination with the OECD-NEA, IAEA has recently started a Coordinated Research Project (CRP) in the areas of heat transfer behaviour and testing of thermo-hydraulic computer methods for Supercritical Water-Cooled Reactors. The first Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) of the CRP was held at the IAEA Headquarters, in Vienna, Austria in July 2008. This paper summarizes the current status of the CRP, including the Integrated Research Plan and the general schedule for the CRP. (author)
[en] Goals of Water Cooled Reactors Technology Development Group: • Continuously monitor worldwide activities on technology development for WCRs; • Facilitate exchange of information among IAEA Member States on technology development for WCRs; • Foster international collaboration on technology development for WCRs; • Support near term deployment of nuclear programs for both emerging and existing countries in WCR technology development; • Provide technology training in WCR technology development.
[en] This study by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) consists of three parts: a conceptual framework, twelve country case studies on funding arrangements prepared in collaboration with NEA countries, and some best policy guidelines. The study focuses on the interdependency of costs and funding requirements on the one hand and changes in nuclear policy, such as long-term operation (LTO) or premature shutdowns, as well as technological progress on the other hand. The basic approach is to frame the question of the adequacy of funding arrangements in terms of the transparency, flexibility and political sustainability of the overall institutional set-up rather than in pure accounting terms, where assumptions about discount rates, which are often ad hoc, are usually the only decisive parameter. The project proposes, in particular, to complement current approaches to assessing financial adequacy, which are based on the linear discounting of estimated future costs for decommissioning and waste disposal, with a circular approach. In the latter, the elements of funding arrangements continuously adapt as new information on costs, social preferences, policy objectives, lifetimes or rates of return on existing assets becomes available. The question of the adequacy of funding for decommissioning and waste disposal thus evolves as it allows changes in parameters. This approach also includes a somewhat broader interpretation of the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP), which is based on a partial equilibrium framework in which causalities are obvious, parameters are fixed and 'damages' can be quantified and monetized. Drawing on an established body of work in the field of Law and Economics on risk management and liability distribution, there will be some reflection on the optimal allocation of ultimate responsibilities with regard to the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Said literature holds, for instance, that responsibilities should always be allocated to the party best placed to reduce risks. Depending on the circumstances of each country, such considerations might lead to funding solutions that are different for decommissioning than for radioactive waste management or its subsets, such as spent nuclear fuel (SNF) management. Nuclear operators can usually manage decommissioning risks as part of their industrial activities. This might not always be the case for nuclear waste management, especially where deep geological repositories (DGR) are the preferred solution as time frames are likely to exceed the lifetime of any individual operator. Of course, allocating ultimate responsibilities for radioactive waste management to a party other than nuclear operators, e.g. governments or special-purpose vehicles, does not imply absolving electricity producers and their customers from footing the essential part of final costs. Liability transfers necessarily imply a transfer of the funds to cover those liabilities. It might, however, also imply allocating residual risks that result from policy decisions or evolving social preferences to those parties best equipped to handle them. The study finally explores the theme of incentive compatibility in the sense that funding arrangements should be cost-effective in the long term to make them more politically and socially sustainable in different OECD countries. Clearly, there is a wide range of solutions as national circumstances differ greatly both in economic and technical terms with respect to the historical allocation of responsibilities and social preferences. The work to produce this report was undertaken under the oversight of the Working Party on Nuclear Energy Economics (WPNE) and the NEA Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC). Throughout the preparation of this report the authors regularly briefed the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee and its bureau and consulted widely with other international organisations such as the European Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)