October 31, Abu Dhabi – Director General of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, emphasized the main priorities for the development of the global nuclear power industry for the near-term during a speech at the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st century, organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The event is currently taking place in Abu Dhabi, UAE, between October 30th and November 1st.
Among the critical goals for further development of the nuclear power industry, Mr. Likhachev mentioned collaboration in the closure of the nuclear fuel cycle (NFC). “We are convinced that the future of the global nuclear power industry is going hand in hand with NFC closure, with the core represented by fast fission reactor technologies. NFC closure will allow the peaceful atom to become an environmentally friendly power source with almost unlimited resources for decades. Most importantly, this is not a technology of the distant future: taking into account the existing scientific and technological level of development, there are good reasons to think that complex product in this field will be offered to the market within the next 10-12 years. In the nuclear power industry it means that these are the technologies of tomorrow,” declared the head of Rosatom.
According to Mr. Likhachev, the key task is to create the industrial infrastructure necessary to effectively slow down the increase of spent nuclear fuel while increasing the amount of reprocessed fuel components back into the nuclear fuel cycle. “Today Rosatom is focusing on the development of such technologies – we are now creating industrial facilities to recycle spent fuel in Russia, and we are also working on new uranium-plutonium fuel to help return spent fuel back to the nuclear fuel cycle. All of these activities will boost the nuclear power industry and promote its future development for decades. In view of the above, we urge all interested parties to get involved in cooperation in developing fast reactors and NFC closure,” said Mr. Likhachev.
Mr. Likhachev also highlighted new international cooperation issues. “The first issue is safety: here we support IAEA’s efforts to consistently strengthen safety requirements. The global nuclear industry is now one of the most responsible and compliant with the safety and sustainable growth requirements among all other sectors of industry. Overall, the safety of technology and solutions is not just a requirement for us; it is a precondition to implement any nuclear project.”
According to Mr. Likhachev, the second area of international cooperation should be the coordination of efforts on creating a positive image of the nuclear power industry. “We should trigger our cooperation not simply to ensure acceptability of nuclear power by society, but also to provide conditions for its demand by the public.”
In his speech, Mr. Likhachev also emphasized the key role of the nuclear power industry in ensuring sustainable development and the global switch to low-carbon generation. “The nuclear power industry meets all requirements set for the power of the future. This is a source of stable and environmentally friendly pure energy obtained at low cost. Nuclear power along with solar, wind and hydro energy make up the so-called “green square”, which will serve as a basis of the global power balance in the future. Here, we are not substituting for, but complementing and improving each other,” added Mr. Likhachev.