NFRP-2 - Research on safety of fast neutron Generation-IV reactors
This action is aimed at development of the technical assessment of safety improvements of critical fast neutron Generation-IV systems and their supporting reactor islands, as identified by ESNII in the SET Plan Integrated Roadmap[[https://setis.ec.europa.eu/set-plan-process/integrated-roadmap-and-action-plan]]. This can include inter alia the study of core parameter optimisation and reactivity control, reliability of automatic shut-down systems, diversified systems of residual power removal more resistant to common mode failure, demonstrable natural circulation of cooling fluids in ultimate heat transfer processes, improved strategy of confinement modes and severe accident behaviour and mitigation including their simulation, in-service inspection and repair of safety-related components, as well as the related licensing aspects. The safety of different fuel cycle options is within scope, including dense MOX driver fuel, multiple recycling of plutonium, use of low-enriched uranium and transmutation of some minor actinides, as is the design and operational features facilitating and improving safety of decommissioning. These safety improvements will need to be endorsed by the EU scientific community in view of building up the main corpus of EU technical standards for Generation-IV to be used as the reference to demonstrate compliance with the amended Euratom Safety Directive. The proposed action should involve standardisation bodies at national and EU levels.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from Euratom of between EUR 2 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Proposals for topics NFRP 1 to 5 will be ranked in a single ranking list.
The first Generation-IV reactors are expected to be fully operational in the next 25-30 years in various places around the world. In the meantime, all Generation-IV concepts and designs currently under development, both in Europe and worldwide, will need to demonstrate compliance with evolving and ever more stringent safety requirements. In this context, a significant increase in the level of safety is expected to be demonstrated by fast neutron reactors and new reactor coolants. These should exhibit more favourable behaviour in the case of severe accidents, whilst also offering major advantages in terms of the use of the uranium resource, reduction of high-level waste production and potentially increased proliferation resistance. This activity will build on the strong operational experience gained in the EU on fast neutron reactors, whilst ensuring that research and technical expertise on nuclear safety of Generation-IV reactor is shared effectively at EU level. The challenge is also to ensure that all European stakeholders, including civil society, can be represented in the assessment of the status of current developments concerning Generation-IV R&D with respect to expected safety features.
This action is to draw on the unique expertise and operational experience feedback gained by the EU in Generation-IV technology in order to place the EU at the forefront of the development of safety standards for this new generation of reactors, thereby helping EU safety standards to be adopted worldwide. This will ensure deployment of this next generation of reactors in conformity with the recognised stringent European safety standards whilst also boosting EU technological and industrial competitiveness.