The SNETP Forum 2022 edition will be held on 2 June 2022 in Lyon, France, in conjunction with FISA’2022 (10th Euratom Conference on Reactor Safety) and EURADWASTE’22 (10th Euratom Conference Radioactive Waste Management).
The SNETP Forum 2022 will aim at discussing and analysing recent technological innovations in different fields selected by the SNETP Scientific Committee as to cover major topics of interest to the stakeholders of SNETP.
New innovative solutions are needed to ensure cost competitiveness with other power generation technologies, as well as speed of construction and implementation in local systems. In addition to the nuclear reactors in operation and those under construction, Europe needs to expand the range of reactors technologies available to meet national/local specificities. The development of different SMRs, based on most matured technologies or on other advanced technologies, offers the possibility to deploy flexible options for both power and non-power applications and contribute to decarbonization. R&D&I should support the development of SMRs to make them safe and competitive with other means of production as part of a global deployment strategy over the coming decades.
Nuclear codes and standards and supply chain
Safety-related structures, systems and components (SSCs) of nuclear power plants are normally designed and produced according to stringent nuclear codes & standards (NC&S). Supplying such SSCs normally requires companies to establish and maintain a quite costly nuclear quality-assurance (QA) programme. In response to growing supply chain challenges European NPP operators started looking into greater deployment of high-quality non-nuclear industry standard components and equipment for safety-related SSCs of NPPs (i.e. commercial-grade dedication) and launched corresponding pilot projects with approval of their regulators. This is supported by European and international nuclear organisations like Foratom and the IAEA by providing guidance in this area. The further development of NC&S remains high on the agenda. Novel materials, manufacturing methods and technologies need to be included in NC&S before being allowed to be used for safety-related SCCs. This and also NC&S development for advanced reactors (SMRs, Gen IV) require significant R&D&I efforts. In this session, ongoing NC&S development activities and needs and supply chain related activities and challenges for the current reactor fleet and advanced reactors will be presented and discussed.
Digital and robotics
- Digital: The digital transformation has become a cross-cutting trend to all industrial sectors and nuclear is no exception to this: the European Commission considers that the climate transition should be coupled with a digital transition. Therefore, it is essential to build a European digital integration bench in order to achieve digital twins such as a Digital Nuclear Reactor. Concerted RD&I work is essential to make progress in terms of multi-physics modelling and simulation, high performance computing, data analysis and analytics, visualization, virtual reality, advanced instrumentation (e.g. Internet Of things) and I&C.
- Robotics: NPP operation combines a number of interlinked human, organisational and technical factors. A strong drive to opt for advanced robotics in nuclear industry appeared after the Three Mile Island incident. Improving nuclear power plant operation and managing safely their decommissioning are considered to be key to the public acceptance of nuclear. If robots take over the human personnel in conducting risky operations, the latter will have a reduced exposure to radioactivity. Significant investments in artificial intelligence sustain this eventuality. Moreover, the ability to maintain the nuclear power infrastructure may depend on robots being able to carry out maintenance tasks that would otherwise be impossible, thus significantly extending the lifetime of reactors.
Several R&D facilities have been shut down in the EU over the last decade. Therefore, loss of critical research infrastructure (i.e. facilities, capabilities and expertise) remains a concern to all SNETP stakeholders and the nuclear community as a whole. SNETP and some of its members took initiative to set up the “OFFERR” project that aims to support the European nuclear R&D community, and to establish an operational scheme facilitating access for R&D experts to key nuclear science through the channelling of financial grants provided by the Euratom programme. The goal is to construct a sustainable “User facility network (UFN)”. This session shall discuss the way this network shall be built and provide the current status of research facilities that support the implementation of the SNETP Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (2021) and beyond.
Waste minimization and fuel cycle
The current and projected fleet of plants consists largely of water-cooled, water-moderated reactors. These reactors have over time achieved a high degree of maturity in terms of economic performance and safety. To achieve major steps in terms of sustainability (reduced high-level waste production, better use of resources and higher thermal efficiencies) and to open the way for high-temperature non-electrical applications, new types of reactors based on other coolant technologies should be envisaged combined with more advanced fuel cycles. The use of fast reactors in a closed fuel cycle approach will allow a large decrease in natural resource (uranium) consumption, allowing therefore a more sustainable implementation of nuclear energy. One of the major concerns of society regarding the implementation of nuclear energy is also the high-level nuclear waste. Fast spectrum reactors with closed fuel cycles will allow a significant reduction in high-level nuclear waste radiotoxicity and volume. Advanced reprocessing and fuel manufacturing techniques are needed to recycle the minor actinides. This session shall discuss how the sustainability in terms of resource utilization and high level waste minimization can be gradually increased.
The role of nuclear energy in mitigating climate change including non-electrical applications (hydrogen, heat, etc)
With increased awareness of climate change in recent years, nuclear energy has received renewed attention. Nuclear energy can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) worldwide, while at the same time meeting the increasing demand for energy of a growing world population and supporting global sustainable development. Nuclear energy has considerable potential to meet the challenge of climate change mitigation by providing a secured supply of electricity, district heating and high temperature heat for industrial processes while producing almost no GHGs. This session will focus on the different possible uses of nuclear to contribute to the EU decarbonisation strategy.
A draft detailed programme is available for download here.
Register to attend the event here.
Note: To those who wish to participate in the SNETP Forum, please indicate either FISA or Euradwaste in the pre-registration step. Once you receive the detailed registration form later on, you will be asked to specify which sessions you wish to attend, half-day by half-day. At this moment you will be able to indicate that you will only participate in the SNETP Forum.