More than 40 participants from 14 countries attended the IAEA’s first joint Russia-INPRO School, where Agency and international experts shared their insights on ways to ensure that nuclear energy remains sustainable in the decades to come to help fight climate change and meet the global energy needs of the 21st century.

Over the course of the five-day virtual event, representatives from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Finland, Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Thailand learned about the concepts and methods of the IAEA’s International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO). These are based on an integrated and forward-looking approach that takes into consideration all aspects important for fostering sustainable nuclear energy, such as economics, infrastructure, waste management, environment, proliferation resistance, reactors and fuel cycle safety.

The event, held on 8-12 November, helped to build capacities and national human resource development in the nuclear energy sector. It was the first INPRO School organized jointly with the Russian Federation, with experts from both the IAEA and the Rosatom Technical Academy sharing their insights, and the first INPRO School for managers and decision makers in the nuclear sector and government.

“The INPRO school has helped Ghana in assessing existing or planned future nuclear energy systems in a holistic way to determine if these systems are sustainable,” said Felix Ameyaw of the Nuclear Power Institute at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. “INPRO studies at the school helped us compare different nuclear energy systems and scenarios to strategically plan how to move towards enhanced energy sustainability.”

Innovations offer significant potential for nuclear energy to increase its contribution to mitigating the climate crisis and to meeting the energy needs of the 21st century in a sustainable manner. Through INPRO, the IAEA has built partnerships to work on topics such as the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs), Generation IV reactor concepts, nuclear supply chains, and the non-electric applications of nuclear energy.

Vladimir Artisyuk, Councilor and Adviser to the Director General of ROSATOM, said in his opening remarks that it was “symbolic” that the first INPRO School was taking place at the same time as United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, where the IAEA hosted the event “Nuclear Innovation for a Net Zero World”.

“The very nature of INPRO is innovation and that is expected to be key to a breakthrough in accepting nuclear power as a green and circular technology,” Artisyuk said. “The early deployment of innovative nuclear reactors could support the efforts of the IAEA Members States in combating climate change.”

Established in 2000, INPRO helps to ensure that nuclear energy remains available to contribute to meeting global energy needs until the end of the 21st century, by providing a forum for experts and policymakers from industrialized and developing countries to discuss and cooperate on such issues as sustainable planning, development and deployment of nuclear energy. INPRO activities take place in close cooperation with IAEA Member States. They cover global scenarios, innovations, sustainability assessment and strategies, and dialogue and outreach.

Participants learn about the planning and modelling of nuclear energy systems (NES) and the methodology used for assessing NES. The INPRO methodology covers all areas relevant to NES sustainability, all reactor types and fuel cycle facilities, all facilities of NES, and all phases of NES from cradle to grave.

“To meet climate goals and 21st century global energy needs, we need to ensure a sustainable nuclear energy supply: INPRO helps do that,” Dohee Hahn, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Power, said. “INPRO is forward looking and makes sure that managers, alongside the next generation of nuclear experts, receive the necessary education and further training in the nuclear field. This is why we organize schools like this one: it is crucial that knowledge of IAEA methodology and tools to assess the sustainability of nuclear energy systems are effectively transferred to future leaders in the field.”

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