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IAEA to support development of SMR technology

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continue providing assistance to the countries who want to develop small and medium-sized reactors (SMRs), IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told reporters at the IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century held in St. Petersburg on 27-29 June, BelTA has learnt.

“We follow with great interest the technological development in this field and we provide assistance to the countries who want to pursue SMR programs,” Yukiya Amano noted. According to the IAEA, small and medium-sized reactors have a number of advantages: they are compact, not very expensive, safe and reliable and can be produced at a regular industrial company. “Such reactors will benefit countries who do not operate large power grids,” Yukiya Amano added.

Director General of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Luis Echavarri said that this question was raised during one of the sessions of the conference. Several countries have been working on SMR designs. Luis Echavarri thinks that such reactors will enter the market in four-eight years’ time. Large reactors are difficult to incorporate into underdeveloped power systems. “The countries which lack financing for the construction of large rectors will be able to solve this problem using small and medium reactors,” Luis Echavarri noted.

The development of small and medium-sized reactors is an example of the diversification of technologies for supplying the demand of the countries and regions with limited possibilities. The final resolution of the IAEA conference in St. Petersburg reads that small and medium-sized designs can be effectively used for wider nuclear energy production in the regions which do not have large power grids and in geographically isolated regions.

However, the conference participants stated that in global terms and in terms of increasing the stability of future nuclear systems the key development areas of nuclear power technologies are fast neutron reactors, closed fuel cycle and nuclear fuel recycling.