IAEA holds workshops on small modular reactors ahead of market rollouts

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launched a series of workshops recently on small modular reactors (SMRs) – advanced, prefab nuclear power reactors that could be ready for the market by 2020 -- to train and prepare regulators and other industry stakeholders.

“Small modular reactors are a very attractive proposition for the Arab world, as more than half the countries in our region don’t have the resources to build large, traditional nuclear power plants,” Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA) Director General Abdelmajid Mahjoub, who chaired one workshop, said. “SMRs are more feasible, manageable and require lower investment – it is a very realistic option for Arab countries to consider.”

The first workshops, in Vienna, allowed participants from the AAEA and the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators (ANNuR) to learn about safety requirements, guidelines and licensing procedures for SMRs. Stakeholders at the workshop included regulatory authorities, operator companies and governmental organizations, who also discussed how the IAEA Safety Standards will apply and what updates might be needed in national regulations.

“In Arab countries with a smaller grid system, SMRs are a step to establish a network of reactors within a country alongside the grid development and growing energy demand,” Mahjoub said. “SMRs are designed to require less manpower and a much shorter time for implementation.”


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