Research-reactor safety, security front and center at IAEA conference

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) "International Conference on Research Reactors: Safe Management and Effective Utilization," held recently in Vienna, Austria, focused on safety and security.

Approximately 300 attendees were present, representing 56 countries and three international groups.

During the conference, many participants said the IAEA should continue providing support to member states in the development and construction of research reactors and in producing radioisotopes. Participants also called on the agency to develop guidance measures for security.

Juan Lentijo, IAEA deputy director general and head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, said there are issues and challenges ahead for the international community.

\“Development of low enriched uranium fuel for high-performance research reactors; completion of safety reassessments in light of the Fukushima-Daiichi accident and implementation of needed improvements; aging of many research reactors, with the potential impact on safety and reliability and supply of important medical isotopes; and lack of planning for decommissioning in many cases" were issues Lentijo cited.

At the conference, participants agreed that appropriate safety management and effective utilization strategies would be key for research reactors and sustainability for developing nuclear programs that facilitate diverse industries, including medicine and energy.


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