atw - April 2016

Competence Based Qualification
SMR: Right Economic Model
International Centre Based on Research Reactors
Emergency Concepts Safety Level 4
2015 Compact Statistics NPP

Challenge for SMRs is to Find ‘The Right Economic Model’


Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are being touted as the future of nuclear. Several countries are building SMRs. Most SMR designs are of the light-water reactor type and most existing regulatory requirements are still applicable. Additionally, there are a lot of conceptual designs. Close to half of them could potentially be deployed in the next 10 years. SMRs are smaller and generally have more passive safety systems they allow for longer reaction time and less input from operators in the event of an accident. SMRs are being designed to be easier to operate than existing reactors. NucNet spoke to Stewart Magruder, senior nuclear safety officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Developing Competence Based Qualification System in the Nuclear Energy Sector

Mihail Ceclan

The Institute for Energy and Transport of the Joint Research Centre, European Commission, developed a strategy and road map for ECVET implementation. The JRC road map for European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) implementation has reached the stage of Competence-Based Qualification System development. The Competence-Based Qualification System can help bridge the gap between Human Resources demand and supply in the nuclear market by structuring qualifications in small independent parts. This very specific ECVET feature of a qualification, facilitates the process of competences accumulation and the lifelong learning, mobility and flexible learning pathways. New developments are presented about the Competence-Based Qualification System development for the nuclear energy sector.

IAEA Designated International Centre Based on Research Reactors (ICERR)

Andrea Borio di Tigliole, Edwarad Bradley, Mikhail Khoroshev, Frances Marshall, Charles Morris and Sandor Tozser

International activities in the back end of the research reactor (RR) fuel cycle have so far been dominated by the programmes of acceptance of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) spent nuclear fuel (SNF) by the country where it was originally enriched. These programmes will soon have achieved their goals. However, the needs of the nuclear community dictate that the majority of the research reactors continues to operate using low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel in order to meet the varied mission objectives. As a result, inventories of LEU SNF will continue to be created and the back end solution of RR SNF remains a critical issue. In view of this fact, the IAEA drew up a report presenting available reprocessing and recycling services for RR SNF.

The Countdown is Running: The ‘Endlagerkommission’ on the Finishing Straight

Ulrike Feldmann

Although the Site Selection Act (“Standortauswahlgesetz”) entered into force on 27 July 2013, the Commission on Storage of High-level Waste Materials” held its inaugural meeting on 22 May 2014. One main task of the Commission is the preparation and submission of a report concerning the main issues for the site selection for a final high-level waste repository. Additionally the proposals should comprise a decision-making tool and recommendations for actions for the Bundestag and Bundesrat. In mid-February 2016 the Commission started to publish some draft parts of the report on the website of the Commission.

Emergency Concepts for the Safety Level Four

Martin Richner

According to the IAEA Guidelines and the Swiss Safety Guidelines the defence-in depth safety concept for a nuclear power plant consists of four safety levels. Emergency measures for the limitation of beyond design basis accidents are of safety level four. They are referred to as incident management. After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, in Switzerland the former regulatory body HSK (today ENSI) requested several retrofit measures in the field of accident management. The importance of accident management was visible again in Fukushima and demands for preventive measures grew.

Heat Transfer Enhancement in a Natural Draft Dry Cooling Tower Under Crosswind Operation with Heterogeneous Water Distribution

Mohsen Goodarzi and Hossein Amooie

Crosswind significantly decreases cooling efficiency of a natural draft dry cooling tower. The possibility of improving cooling efficiency with heterogeneous water distribution within the cooling tower radiators under crosswind condition is analysed. A CFD approach was used to model the flow field and heat transfer phenomena within the cooling tower and airflow surrounding the cooling tower. A mathematical model was developed from various CFD results. Having used a trained Genetic Algorithm with the result of mathematical model, the best water distribution was found among the others. Remodeling the best water distribution with the CFD approach showed that the highest enhancement of the heat transfer compared to the usual uniform water distribution.

Partitioning and Transmutation of Transuranium Elements Under Nuclear Phase-out Conditions – Technically Reliable?

Bruno Merk and Ulrich Rohde

The German government has decided for the nuclear phase out, but a decision on a strategy for the management of the highly radioactive waste is not defined yet. Partitioning and Transmutation (P&T) could be considered as a technological option in the process of management of highly radioactive waste management, therefore a wide study has been conducted. In this group objectives for P&T and the boundary conditions of the phase out have been discussed. The fulfillment of the given objectives is analyzed using simulations of molten salt reactors with fast neutron spectrum. It is shown that the efficient transmutation of all existing transuranium isotopes would be possible in 3 to 4 reactors in a time frame of 45 to 60 years. Further on a detailed balance of different isotopic inventories is given to allow a deeper understanding of the processes during transmutation.

Nuclear Power Plants: 2015 atw Compact Statistics


At the end of the last year 2015 (key date: 31 December 2015), nuclear power plants were operating in 31 countries worldwide. In total, 442 nuclear power plants were operating on the key date. This means that the number did not change compared to the previous year’s number on 31 December 2014. The gross power output of these nuclear power plant units amounted to around 409 GWe, the net power output was approximately 388 GWe. This means that the available gross and net capacities grew by 3 GW. Seven nuclear power plants started (nuclear) operation and also seven units were definitively permanently shut-down. 65 plants in 15 countries were under construction. In addition, there are about 125 nuclear power plant units in 25 countries worldwide.

Big Ambitions for Small Reactors as Investors Size Up Power Options

John Shepherd

Earlier this year, US nuclear developer NuScale Power completed a study for the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) that supported the suitability of NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology for the effective disposition of plutonium. The UK is a frontrunner to compete in the SMR marketplace, both in terms of technological capabilities, trade and political commitment. Industry observers are openly speculating whether SMR design and construction could start to move ahead faster than ‘big and conventional’ nuclear construction projects – not just in the UK but worldwide. Economies of scale could increase the attraction of SMRs to investors and the general public.


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