Task Force on R&D Infrastructure

Objectives and Achievements

The GIF-RDTF was established early 2018, for a period of up to two years, as approved by the 44th GIF Policy Group in Cape Town (ZA), in October 2017.

First steps of actions taken to meet the first objective were to ‘Identify essential R&D experimental facilities needed for development, demonstration and qualification of GEN IV components and systems, including activities to meet safety and security objectives’. Generation-IV systems (SFR, LFR, GFR, VHTR, SCWR and MSR) major (or critical) experimental infrastructure (or facilities) needs in function of the respective R&D objectives for the next decade (i.e. viability, performance, or demonstration – depending on the respective system TRL) are presented, based upon national R&D programmes and considering industrial needs.

Challenges and Opportunities of ‘Putting together the pieces of the puzzle’ of R&D and Demonstration

Identification of existing experimental facilities in response to the aforementioned needs highlighted some gaps. Planned experimental infrastructure constructions, availability of experimental infrastructures outside the GIF countries are briefly discussed.

 

 

Identified Research Reactors supporting Innovative GIF Systems’ needs for Irradiation on materials and fuels requirements

 

 

GIF Systems’ requirements Displacement Damage (dpa) versus Temperature (C)

 

Forward looking and planned activities of GIF RDTF in view of meeting its second objective are discussed, the latest being to ‘Promote the utilization of the experimental facilities for collaborative R&D activities among the GIF partners’. To this end, identify existing mechanisms and approaches, including organizational points of contact, for obtaining access to relevant R&D facilities in the GIF member countries is needed. This information is then made accessible to GIF participants, e.g. this GIF RDTF website, including closer OECD/NEA, GIF and IAEA international cooperation initiatives, to stimulate joint funding from Member States and/or enterprises, and benefits to be capitalized.

 

 

The virtuous wheel of International Cooperation and Collaboration Opportunities

 

Activities and Modus Operandi

GIF RDTF took advantage of GIF Member State’s, IAEA’s [http://www.iaea.org/] and NEA’s [http://www.oecd-nea.org] relevant work, among others:  a) R&D needs Outlook(s) [https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_108744/gif-r-d-outlook-for-generation-iv-nuclear-energy-systems-2018-update] and Technology roadmap [https://www.gen-4.org/gif/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-03/gif-tru2014.pdf] along with;  b) R&D infrastructures databases, reports, compendium, International Cooperation initiatives and collaborative projects e.g. IAEA Collaborative Research Projects (CRPs), International Centres based on Research Reactors (ICERR) [https://www.iaea.org/about/partnerships/international-centres-based-on-research-reactors-icerrs], IAEA International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) [https://www.iaea.org/services/key-programmes/international-project-on-innovative-nuclear-reactors-and-fuel-cycles-inpro] , NEA Joint Projects, Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) [https://www.oecd-nea.org/science/nest/], Framework for Irradiation Experiments (FIDES) [https://www.oecd-nea.org/jcms/pl_15313/framework-for-irradiation-experiments-fides], Nuclear Innovation NI2050 [https://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/ni2050/], and EU/EURATOM collaborative research projects [http://cordis.europa.eu/home_en.html].

The Task Force benefits from GIF Member State’s [https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_9343/system-arrangements-mou] latest relevant updates and collaborative activities [https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_44720/annual-reports] together with:  a) IAEA database of Facilities in Support of Liquid Metal-cooled Fast Neutron Systems Facilities  and its latest compendium [https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/lmfns/Pages/default.aspx] where update of 43 (22 LFR and 21 SFR), 34 new ones (16 SFR and 18 LFR) facilities are now bringing the LMFNS Online Catalogue with a total 180 facilities (86 SFRs, 80 LFRs, and 14 cross-cutting, for dual applications) but also GCR/GHTR database update in 2019/20 to be published;   b) The Advanced Reactor Information System (ARIS) [https://aris.iaea.org/];  c) The Research Reactor database (RRDB) [https://nucleus.iaea.org/RRDB/RR/ReactorSearch.aspx]  ;  c) OECD/NEA Research and test facilities database (RTFDB) [??? https://www.oecd-nea.org/rtfdb/];  d) OECD/NEA Task Group on Advanced Experimental Facilities (TAREF) on SFR [https://www.oecd-nea.org/globalsearch/download.php?doc=77089] and GFR [https://www.oecd-nea.org/globalsearch/download.php?doc=8901] but also the Support Facilities for Existing and Advanced Reactors (SFEAR) [https://www.oecd-nea.org/globalsearch/download.php?doc=6450] ;  and e) EU/EURATOM projects’ roadmap proposal for building knowledge and facilities needed for the development of nuclear energy systems such as ADRIANA (ADvanced Reactor Initiative And Network Arrangement) [https://cordis.europa.eu/docs/projects/files/249/249687/adriana-final-report_en.pdf] .

 

Forward looking

High-level events allowed fulfilling successfully the missions assigned to this Task Force, and as stipulated in the RDTF on Infrastructures Terms of Reference, such as:

 

GIF RDTF Final report, recommendations and first follow-up actions [https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_173655/r-d-infrastructure-task-force-final-report] address the following:

  • Generation-IV systems (SFR, LFR, GFR, VHTR, SCWR and MSR) major (or critical) experimental infrastructure (or facilities) needs in function of the respective R&D objectives for the next decade (i.e. viability, performance, or demonstration – depending on the respective system TRL) are presented, based upon national R&D programmes and considering industrial needs,
  • Cross-cutting R&D Infrastructures addressing Challenges and Opportunities of ‘Putting together the pieces of the puzzle’ include Irradiation Facilities, Materials Testing Reactors (MTR) high power (≥20 MW), medium power (5–20 MW), low power (<5 MW)), mode of operation (steady state and pulsed reactors) and neutron spectrum (thermal and fast), unique experimental capabilities due to core design, balancing experimental volume and neutron flux, qualifying unique coolants for innovative Generation-IV reactors, in-core & Out-core instrumentation, and charged particle irradiation facilities. It also covers handling of irradiated materials (pre- and post- irradiation Hot Cells), nuclear data measurements, advanced modelling, simulation tools and digitalization, harmonization of licensing rules, certification and standards, education and training, knowledge management, mobility and access to research infrastructures, and advanced small modular reactors (SMRs) opportunities.

 

Taking into account analyses and recommendations made by RDTF members, as well as private sector’s feedback from the first Workshop in February 2020, new dedicated Task Forces emerged from the conclusions of this RDTF report highlighting two topics largely put forward during the RDTF workshop. They are the sharing of:

  • The Verification/Validation and Uncertainty Quantification (VV&UQ) approaches and best practices between the different Member States, and
  • The reflection on how to improve exchanges with regulators, at an early stage, to simplify and enable faster licensing processes for any innovative systems e.g. SMRs.

 

These two topics could be the starting point of new GIF Task Forces that would be considered in such a way as a logic continuation of this RDTF Task Force.

In addition, a white paper is being drafted in 2021 concerning ‘Enhancement of R&D collaboration within GIF’

We also look forward to capitalize all achievements to date, and benefit from future opportunities of participating and exchanging on the progress of R&D and collaborations, at conferences, events and workshops such as the International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles: Sustainable Clean Energy for the Future (FR22) on 25–28 April 2022, in Beijing, in China but also at a following Symposium or dedicated Workshop, maybe in 2022 with SMR vendors, as a follow-up monitoring of GIF Member States’ Infrastructures’ collaborations and instruments, and successful progress. GIF members strongly support a co-ordinated revitalisation of nuclear RD&D infrastructure worldwide, to a level that would once again quickly move forward a new generation of reactors.

 

On behalf of behalf of GIF RDTF colleagues and friends,

Roger Garbil
RDTF Chair

Roger Garbil