Frequently asked questions
Generation IV defined
- I've heard a lot about Generation IV reactors. What are they and what are Generation II and III reactors?
- So, in what ways will Generation IV reactors be different from today's reactors? Does this mean that present day reactors are unsafe, unsustainable and dirty? (Has Gen-IV got anything to do with nuclear fusion? But why should we back both generation IV and fusion ... if fusion is successful, won't this make Gen-IV obsolete?)
- Will Generation IV reactors help us to achieve our ambitious CO2 reduction targets, improve security of energy supply/competitiveness?
- So, Generation IV means widespread use of fast breeder reactors and therefore reprocessing...but won't this mean we need more large reprocessing plants like at La Hague and Sellafield, leading to more low-level radioactive waste and increased radioactive effluent discharges to the environment? These new reprocessing plants will enable all the minor actinides produced in the reactor to be recycled back into fresh fuel...this might be good to reduce the proliferation risk, but won't this lead to increased radiation exposure of workers in both the reprocessing and fuel fabrication plants? But surely we cannot recycle everything...exactly how much highly toxic radioactive waste will be produced each year by a typical Generation IV reactor, and how does this compare with current reactors? Won't this mean we'll still need to find a solution to long-term management of such waste, e.g. construction and operation of geological disposal facilities?
- The availability and extent of uranium reserves and the associated cost is a controversial issue; is there any impact on the deployment strategy of Generation-IV systems?
- What about the use of Thorium in the nuclear fuel cycle?
Interactions with other bodies and initiatives
- What is the GIF?
- What is the GNEP?
- What are the differences and/or links between the GIF and GNEP?
- What is INPRO?
- Is there collaboration between the GIF and INPRO?
Generation IV concepts
- There must be many possible advanced reactor designs ... Why is the GIF looking at only six of these?
- On what basis were the six systems chosen for the R&D phase?
- Will the six systems be safer than existing systems? Will the six systems be cheaper to run than existing systems?
- What inherent aspects of the systems under development will guard against nuclear proliferation?
- Will all six systems be ready for industrial deployment by 2030? When will the first prototype reactor be built? By whom? Is the intention to exploit all six of these Generation IV reactor types on a commercial basis?
- What is the difference between the fast neutron reactors developed in the past, and those to be developed within the Gen-IV framework?
GIF operating mode
- Does the GIF have any legal basis? How does it operate?
- How is the GIF financed?
- Shouldn't it be the nuclear industry's job to develop and commercialize new reactors?
- How does a country become a member of the GIF? Why are some countries listed as being "non-active" members of the GIF? Is there any concern that these "non-active" members will withdraw completely from the GIF?
- Where are the GIF offices? What is the NEA's role in the GIF?
GIF response to Fukushima
Watch an Introduction to Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems and the International Forum (requires Adobe Flash Player, or download in pdf format, 1.2 mb)
Download an Overview of the GIF (pdf, 161 kb)
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