IAEA’s First Joint Russia-INPRO School Provides Nuclear Energy Insights to Experts from 14 Countries

More than 40 participants from 14 countries attended the IAEA’s first joint Russia-INPRO School, where Agency and international experts shared their insights on ways to ensure that nuclear energy remains sustainable in the decades to come to help fight climate change and meet the global energy needs of the 21st century.

Over the course of the five-day virtual event, representatives from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Finland, Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Thailand learned about the concepts and methods of the IAEA’s International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO). These are based on an integrated and forward-looking approach that takes into consideration all aspects important for fostering sustainable nuclear energy, such as economics, infrastructure, waste management, environment, proliferation resistance, reactors and fuel cycle safety.

The event, held on 8-12 November, helped to build capacities and national human resource development in the nuclear energy sector. It was the first INPRO School organized jointly with the Russian Federation, with experts from both the IAEA and the Rosatom Technical Academy sharing their insights, and the first INPRO School for managers and decision makers in the nuclear sector and government.

“The INPRO school has helped Ghana in assessing existing or planned future nuclear energy systems in a holistic way to determine if these systems are sustainable,” said Felix Ameyaw of the Nuclear Power Institute at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. “INPRO studies at the school helped us compare different nuclear energy systems and scenarios to strategically plan how to move towards enhanced energy sustainability.”

Innovations offer significant potential for nuclear energy to increase its contribution to mitigating the climate crisis and to meeting the energy needs of the 21st century in a sustainable manner. Through INPRO, the IAEA has built partnerships to work on topics such as the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs), Generation IV reactor concepts, nuclear supply chains, and the non-electric applications of nuclear energy.

Vladimir Artisyuk, Councilor and Adviser to the Director General of ROSATOM, said in his opening remarks that it was “symbolic” that the first INPRO School was taking place at the same time as United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, where the IAEA hosted the event “Nuclear Innovation for a Net Zero World”.

“The very nature of INPRO is innovation and that is expected to be key to a breakthrough in accepting nuclear power as a green and circular technology,” Artisyuk said. “The early deployment of innovative nuclear reactors could support the efforts of the IAEA Members States in combating climate change.”

Established in 2000, INPRO helps to ensure that nuclear energy remains available to contribute to meeting global energy needs until the end of the 21st century, by providing a forum for experts and policymakers from industrialized and developing countries to discuss and cooperate on such issues as sustainable planning, development and deployment of nuclear energy. INPRO activities take place in close cooperation with IAEA Member States. They cover global scenarios, innovations, sustainability assessment and strategies, and dialogue and outreach.

Participants learn about the planning and modelling of nuclear energy systems (NES) and the methodology used for assessing NES. The INPRO methodology covers all areas relevant to NES sustainability, all reactor types and fuel cycle facilities, all facilities of NES, and all phases of NES from cradle to grave.

“To meet climate goals and 21st century global energy needs, we need to ensure a sustainable nuclear energy supply: INPRO helps do that,” Dohee Hahn, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Power, said. “INPRO is forward looking and makes sure that managers, alongside the next generation of nuclear experts, receive the necessary education and further training in the nuclear field. This is why we organize schools like this one: it is crucial that knowledge of IAEA methodology and tools to assess the sustainability of nuclear energy systems are effectively transferred to future leaders in the field.”

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Ghana Participates in COP26 Side Event with the IAEA Director General


Ghana, Brazil, Russia and the United States in a wide-ranging conversation with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi, have spelled out their plans for using nuclear power to help reduce carbon emission and achieve sustainable development.

This was during an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) side event at the COP26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom and the discourse was on “Nuclear Innovation for a Net Zero World”.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference while Conference of the Parties (COP) is a Conference for countries that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a treaty that came into force in 1994.

The side event was in line with IAEA’s support for newcomer countries like Ghana, who are in the process of developing the infrastructure needed for a safe, secure and sustainable nuclear power programme and project. Ghana was represented on the panel discussion by the Minister for Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh (first from right) making a point on Ghana’s nuclear power plans to reduce carbon emission

In response to the status and perspective of the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh recounted the history of Ghana’s nuclear power programme emphasizing that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, about 60 years ago, had both hydro and nuclear power ambitions and while hydro power was successful the nuclear power programme did not see the light of day. He mentioned that President Agyekum Kufour reactivated the nuclear power programme and subsequent Presidents and governments have taken a step in the right direction. He reiterated the need for other baseloads, stating that nuclear power was probably the cleanest of the alternatives available. He disclosed that aside from nuclear, Ghana has a renewable energy policy to meet its Paris target. “Recently, we have started renewable and as of now about 2.4% of our energy mix is renewable. Our Paris target is 10% renewable by 2030”, he said.

Dr. Prempeh also responded to the question of whether the biggest challenge for Ghana would be financing the project or capacity building. He answered that he was not inclined to picking one over the other but the most important thing is to get it right. “Even if we have the money, we should get it right. We should have the human capacity well trained in the nuclear technology we are adopting. Once we select a country as a partner, with your support, we need to train our people in the technology available…that country needs to help in the financing issues. We have to take all the steps simultaneously”, he added.

The Director General of the IAEA expressed satisfaction with the approach to nuclear discourse, especially its contribution to climate change. “People are approaching the issue of nuclear’s contribution to climate change from a more objective perspective, with a much better disposition. We all know that without the current contribution of nuclear, the figures, the stats, the graphs would be much worse than they are. The voice of nuclear had to be heard, it’s being heard and will continue to be heard,” Mr Grossi said.

Nuclear Power is fundamental to limiting global warming- Rafael Mariano Grossi


The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi says Nuclear is, and will be, part of the solution towards the goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius.

This was captured in reports released by the IAEA detailing the role of Nuclear Science and Technology in climate change adaptation and of nuclear power in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

He explained that the role of nuclear is to help realize a net zero world and to help adapt the management of agricultural systems and natural resources to cope with challenges posed by climate change.

He expressed worry about rising temperatures and the consequences of climate change. “Woods are burning, floods and hurricanes are multiplying, and temperatures are rising. Now is the time for action, and this action must be based on science and on facts and according to the best science of our day, nuclear power is part of the solution”, he said.

He clarified further that nuclear power forms a high percentage of the world’s clean energy, a clear indication that the climate situation could be worse without nuclear. “Nuclear energy provides more than a quarter of the world’s clean power…Over the last half century, it has avoided the release of more than 70 giga-tonnes of greenhouse gasses. Without nuclear power, many of the world’s biggest economies would lack their main source of clean electricity”, he added.

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COP26: How Nuclear Power and Technologies Can Help Tackle Climate Change (iaea.org)