Industry News

 View Only

IAEA discusses opportunities and challenges of microreactors

By District Energy posted 05-05-2021 09:22


Nuclear Engineering International


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 26-29 April hosted a Technical Meeting on the Status, Design Features, Technology Challenges and Deployment Models of Microreactors. The meeting united experts from 13 countries, the European Commission and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “We are trying to play a double role – the role of advisor and, at the same time, we must care for a very water-tight system of safety and security,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. Safety and security “go hand in hand, and by addressing these issues early on, we can assimilate them.”

The event included a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of microreactors led by Grossi and former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Co-Chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and Founding CEO of the Energy Futures Initiative. They agreed that international collaboration is vital in developing and deploying new nuclear power technologies, such as small modular reactors (SMRs) including microreactors (MRs), and that the IAEA is the natural place for this collaboration to take place.

The IAEA recently launched a project to investigate the coordinated use of nuclear power and renewables in hybrid energy systems. Last year, the IAEA also initiated a project on the economic appraisal of SMR projects, including MRs, to evaluate business models and consider potential end-users and revenue streams. In response to requests from countries and international organisations, the IAEA is developing an Agency-wide platform on SMRs, inclusive of MRs, to coordinate support related to all aspects of SMR development, deployment, oversight and their electric and non-electric applications, such as use in district heating and desalination systems. The Agency is also conducting a review of the applicability of IAEA Safety Standards to new advanced reactors, including MRs. “The IAEA will try to play an even more active role. We are everybody’s hub in nuclear. We will provide for technologists, regulators, practitioners, conceptualisers to come together,” Grossi said.