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2024: Navigating Global Security with IAEA and Crafting Leaders through UPSC”

New IAEA Publication: Applicability of IAEA Safety Standards to Non-Water-Cooled Reactors and SMR

Currently, more than 80 new reactor designs are being developed worldwide, with some predicted to be operational by 2030. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has finished a project aimed at evaluating the degree to which newly developed innovative technologies, such small modular reactors (SMRs), align with the IAEA safety criteria, which form the basis of nuclear safety worldwide.

In order to determine and record the innovative aspects of these technologies in comparison to the current fleet of reactors and evaluate any possible impact on the applicability of safety requirements, over 150 experts from thirty different nations collaborated.

IAEA’s wide-ranging exercise are presented

The findings of this wide-ranging exercise are presented in  which identifies gaps and areas for additional consideration covering over 90 safety standards related to  the entire life cycle of nuclear power plants.

The safety report’s technical officer, Paula Calle Vives, a senior nuclear safety officer at the Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, says, “It is a practical starting point for understanding how the IAEA safety standards might be used for new technologies and where additional guidance might be needed to inform their application.

IAEA’s Vision  for small modular reactors siting, design, and construction to commissioning, 

Everything from siting, design, and construction to commissioning, operation, and decommissioning was covered by the application evaluation. It also covered the radioactive waste management, emergency planning and response, transportation, safety evaluation, and the application of safety standards to associated nuclear fuel cycle facilities. The publication also takes into account how those technologies’ designs interact with safety, security, and protections.

IAEA’s  various types of innovative reactor designs

To be able to fill the gaps found in Safety Report 123 and to guarantee that, eventually, the IAEA safety standards will be fully applicable to various types of innovative reactor designs, it is imperative to acquire knowledge and, when available, experience on the safety of advanced reactor technologies, according to Ana Gomez Cobo, Head of the Safety Assessment Section.


She stated, “We are also creating training materials on SMR safety to help Member States develop the technical capacity to assess those new designs.” Gomez Cobo emphasized the need for more research in this field by saying: “Our work to develop new reactor designs is important because any claims about the high levels of safety should be supported with strong scientific reasoning and evidence.”.


Small modular reactors, or SMRs, are becoming more and more popular around the world as a cutting-edge and dependable low-carbon way to satisfy energy demand in a sustainable manner. SMRs are sophisticated reactors that can typically generate up to 300 MW(e) of power per module. A number of Member States evaluated whether their regulatory frameworks were prepared to govern new SMR designs in light of the introduction of these designs and the possibility of their immediate deployment. To assist them in this endeavor, the IAEA has recently made available the first of several publications.

Enabling the efficient deployment of secure and safe modern nuclear reactors is still the IAEA’s top priority.


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