The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) is a co-operative international endeavour which was set up to carry out the research and development needed to establish the feasibility and performance capabilities of the next generation nuclear energy systems.
The goals adopted by GIF provided the basis for identifying and selecting six nuclear energy systems for further development. The selected systems are based on a variety of reactor, energy conversion and fuel cycle technologies. Their designs include thermal and fast neutron spectra cores, closed and open fuel cycles. The reactors range in size from very small to very large.Depending on their respective degree of technical maturity, the first Generation IV systems are expected to be deployed commercially around 2030-2040.
Australia joins the Generation IV International Forum
Following unanimous approval by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) members, Australia became the 14th member of the Forum on 22 June 2016. The GIF Charter was signed by CEO Dr Adrian (Adi) Paterson of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). With a staff of about 1 200 people, 250 of whom have doctorate degrees, ANSTO has a balanced mix of fundamental and applied research capabilities, with research facilities in the field of material science centred around the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor, a multi purpose research reactor that also produces medical radioisotopes. Neutron beam instruments which use OPAL's neutrons are used for characterising materials. In addition, ANSTO has several accelerators for ion beam analyses. In order to become fully engaged in the GIF's research activities, particularly in the area of materials for very high temperature and molten salt reactors for which ANSTO has expressed interest, Australia will need to sign the GIF Framework Agreement and its Extension.
43rd GIF Policy Group Meeting
On 13-14 April 2017, the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) held its semi-annual Policy Group (PG) meeting in Paris, France, hosted by the NEA. Participants at this meeting included representatives from twelve GIF member countries, including the ten signatories of the GIF Framework Agreement and Australia, which joined the GIF in June 2016 and is currently in the process of acceding to the GIF Framework Agreement. The United Kingdom, one of the first countries to join GIF but currently a non-active member, was also represented at the meeting as an observer, and was encouraged by the PG to consider acceding to the GIF Framework Agreement. The PG also reviewed the progress in the development of safety design criteria and guidelines for the sodium-cooled fast reactor and their extension to other Generation IV systems, as well as laid the groundwork for the 4th GIF Symposium to be held on 16-17 October 2018. Deployment challenges for Generation IV systems in future energy markets and strengthening interaction with the private sector were also examined, building on the discussions with industry experts and professionals from large corporations and startups during the NEA workshop on "Advanced Reactor Systems and Future Energy Market Needs", which took place the previous day.
On 13-15 May 2017, the 8th International Symposium on Supercritical Water-cooled Reactors (ISSCWR-8) was held in Chengdu, China and was organised by the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC) in cooperation with the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA), the IAEA, the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the GIF SCWR System Steering Committee. The Symposium attracted more than 95 participants from 10 countries and international organisations, with a majority of experts from research organisations and universities in China. This year’s edition addressed recent developments in SCWR-based systems: small modular reactors in Canada, China’s CSR-1000 programme, and progress made in the area of thermal-hydraulics and heat transfer, as well as materials and chemistry.
The GIF SCWR Project Management Board (PMB) and System Steering Committee (SSC) meetings were also held this week. Members of the Materials and Chemistry PMB and the Thermal-Hydraulics & Safety PMB updated their respective Project Plans to include the contribution from China, covering the period up to 2020. The SSC and PMB members unanimously approved of China becoming a new Signatory to these Project Arrangements. The signature process will now be initiated by the GIF Technical Secretariat.
Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor System Meetings
The GIF Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor System held the 6th System Integration and Assessment (SIA) Project Management Board (PMB) meeting in conjunction with the 22nd System Steering Committee (SSC) meeting in Oarai, Japan on 28-30 March 2017. These meetings were hosted by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).
The group extensively discussed proposals on the assessment of design tracks: Loop SFR Design Track N°1a: JSFR (JAEA), Pool SFR Design Track N°2a: KALIMER (KAERI), Pool SFR Design Track N°2b: ESFR (EURATOM), and Small Modular SFR Design Track N°3a: AFR-100 (USDOE). China and the Russian Federation started a self-evaluation of the CFR1200 and BN-1200 design tracks. The SFR SSC updated the R&D list and reviewed reports from the PMB's.
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