The GIF was created in January by 9 countries and, as of , it had 13 members. The GIF is a consortium of countries that hope to develop technologically advanced nuclear energy systems, both in a cost-effective and safe, environmentally-friendly way.
GIF hopes to have these new, safe, economic nuclear power plants ready for use by It suggested that the Gen IV technologies that are most likely to be deployed first are the lead-cooled fast reactor, sodium-cooled fast reactor, very-high temperature reactor, and supercritical-water-cooled reactor. The molten salt reactor and the gas-cooled fast reactor were shown as furthest from the demonstration phase. Other goals include high-level waste repositories being in operation in leading nuclear nations by and in all nuclear nations by ; demonstrating the most promising next generation nuclear power system by with full commercialization by ; and, to demonstrate the ability to build standardized designs on time and to cost by Russia is commissioning its floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov, and several countries such as Argentina, China, France and Korea are also developing SMR technologies.
Saudi Arabia is carrying out studies on nuclear desalination with SMRs. Overall, global investment in nuclear capacity remains insufficient, as testified by the low number of new projects being launched.
In , investments in nuclear decreased to USD 17 billion. This demonstrates the attractiveness of LTO investments in spite of policy and market uncertainties. Similar trends were observed in Nuclear policy uncertainty in a number of countries prevents industry from making investment decisions.
Electricity market uncertainty makes it difficult for investors to predict the revenue that a nuclear power plant can generate over several decades. Regulators could reduce this uncertainty by improving electricity market designs so that they appropriately value the clean and dispatchable source of energy that nuclear power plants represent.
The cost-effectiveness of more innovative designs for SMRs and other advanced reactors is also uncertain.
go More robust oversight of the nuclear supply chain, design simplification, standardization and innovation are all needed to reduce the overnight costs of nuclear power. Improved project and risk management by experienced staff is also necessary.
No regional or global licensing framework exists for nuclear power technologies, which means vendors have to repeat certification processes and adapt to national codes and standards, leading to longer project duration. More efforts to harmonise regulatory requirements and promote design standardisation are needed. This could be achieved through information and experience sharing among regulators, including for the more novel designs, and more effective global industry initiatives to harmonise engineering standards.
It is critical that governments enable these efforts. More disruptive innovations may be required for nuclear to secure its role as a flexible, reliable and dispatchable source of energy. Three types of innovations are being pursued. The development of smaller reactors, which could have higher operational flexibility. The development of innovative fuels that could ensure higher performance at lower cost. And finally, the development of non-electric applications, such as process heat, hydrogen production and desalination, which could displace fossil-based processes.
While there are several alternatives to decarbonise the power sector renewables, CCS, nuclear , there are fewer to decarbonise applications for which fuel switching electrification is not possible or limited.
While nuclear energy is recognised as a proven technology to provide low-carbon electricity as well as grid services, its potential as a source of low-carbon heat is often neglected, even though there is proven industrial experience nuclear district heating in Switzerland for over three decades; process heat in CANDU plants in Canada; nuclear desalination in Kazakhstan in the s.
Hence, demonstrating the coupling of advanced reactors with non-electric applications can provide policy makers with alternatives to decarbonise transport carbon-free production of hydrogen using nuclear heat and electricity , process heat applications and other energy-intensive industries such as desalination plants. Coupling nuclear reactors with non-electric applications can also provide energy system storage — i.
This is the basic concept of hybrid energy systems. Furthermore, demonstrating the possibility of multiple revenue streams sales of electricity as well as heat or hydrogen can improve the case for investing in nuclear technology, which will remain a capital-intensive technology. Fuel design improvements can offer additional benefits such as enhanced performance and increased safety margins.
Innovative fuels may incorporate new materials and designs for cladding and fuel pellets.
Testing in experimental reactors and validation in power reactors are needed before such fuels can be licensed. While nuclear development has focused on constructing larger reactors in recent decades typically light-water reactors [LWRs] of 1 megawatts electrical [MW e ] to 1 MW e to meet growing power demand within large-scale electricity grids, it has been recognised that future energy systems will also require different technologies. Advancing the design, certification and demonstration of SMRs and other advanced reactors such as Gen IVs for electric and non-electric applications will offer clean, low-carbon energy generation technologies to complement renewables and CCS.
In addition, countries with long-term policies to close the nuclear fuel cycle loop by multi-recycling nuclear materials are also maintaining efforts to develop Gen-IV fast-reactor designs particularly sodium fast reactors and the associated nuclear fuel cycle facilities. Finally, countries with long term policies to close the nuclear fuel cycle with the multi-recycling of nuclear materials are also maintaining efforts for the development of Gen-IV fast reactor designs in particular Sodium Fast Reactors and associated nuclear fuel cycle facilities.
The IEA's first report addressing nuclear power in nearly two decades, bringing this important topic back into the global energy debate.
This IEA-NEA technology roadmap outlines the current status of nuclear technology development and provides an updated vision of the role of nuclear energy could play in a low-carbon energy system. It analyses several deep-decarbonisation scenarios that all reach the same stringent carbon emissions target, but with differing shares of variable renewable technologies, hydroelectric power and nuclear energy.
It offers the most recent review of world uranium market fundamentals and presents data on global uranium exploration, resources, production and reactor-related requirements. Contact information info iea.
Oil Market Report Online. Media contacts press iea. Member countries. Today Tracking Clean Energy Progress Are the sectors and technologies critical to the clean energy transition on track? Browse all IEA publications Contact us.