1. How does a country become part of the GIF?
The Forum is an organization that has a specific goal: the development of concepts for one or more Generation IV systems that can be licensed, constructed, and operated in a manner that will provide a competitively priced and reliable supply of energy to the country or countries where such systems may be deployed, while satisfactorily addressing nuclear safety, waste, proliferation and public perception concerns. Membership of a country to the Forum is decided by its present members (unanimous approval required) on the basis of the prospective country's nuclear program, as well as its capacity to contribute to the development of Gen-IV systems. Members are expected to maintain an appropriate level of active participation in collaborative projects, such as the participation in at least one significant collaborative project.
The status of "non-active member" is applicable only in the case of GIF founding members that did not then sign and ratify the Framework Agreement. For new members, this situation is no longer possible since a state can become a GIF member only once both the Charter and the Framework Agreement have been signed.
The possibility for a non-active member to withdraw completely from the GIF does exist. However, in such cases, any organization from that country can no longer participate in project arrangements without prior unanimous approval from the Policy Group.
2. When will Gen IV reactors be built?
It will take at least two or three decades before the deployment of commercial Gen IV systems. In the meantime, a number of prototypes will need to be built and operated. The Gen IV concepts currently under investigation are not all on the same timeline and some might not even reach the stage of commercial exploitation.
Examples of advanced reactor prototypes (steps towards Gen IV designs) currently under construction:
Sodium-cooled reactor technology: BN-800 in Russia under construction at Beloyarsk NPP in Russia (start of operation expected in 2015).
High-temperature reactor technology: HTR-PM in China under construction in Shidaowan, China (construction started in January 2013, and start of operation is expected towards the end of 2017).