A special two-hour panel discussion on Small Modular Reactors (SMR) coordinated by the IAEA will also be on the conference programme.
During the panel the prospects of several countries in Europe that plan to initiate or expand their nuclear energy programme with SMR designs, or consider to include it in their long term strategic programmes, will be explored and discussed. The member states requested the IAEA to help increase their capacity to make knowledgeable decisions, particularly to become capable to identify and perform technical assessments for SMRs commercially available for near term deployment. To address this request, in January 2018 the IAEA has launched the Regional TCEU Project ‘RER/2/014 – Facilitating Capacity Building for Small Modular Reactors: Technology Developments, Safety Assessment, Licensing and Utilization’ with the overall objective to contribute in a new way to fulfil the European demand for clean and emission-free flexible resources of electricity and heat. It should furthermore work in synergy with renewable energy technologies and decrease dependency on fossil fuel imports. The outcome of the project is to increase knowledge in all aspects of SMRs such as technology, licensing, safety assessment, economy and implementation. Sixteen Member States of the Europe Region expressed interest to participate in this two year project. During the panel just a few of these aspects will be elaborated with the focus on the technology readiness, SMRs as a flexible electricity and heat source, and member state studies into future strategic energy programmes that include SMRs.