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nucleareurope moderates Nuclear Energy Summit 2024 panel

On 21 March 2024, nucleareurope’s Communications & Advocacy Director Jessica Johnson moderated a panel during the Nuclear Energy Summit 2024. This panel focused on innovation throughout the nuclear fuel cycle and the life cycle of nuclear facilities. 

The panel focused on a broad range of topics covering:

  • Radioactive waste and nuclear spent fuel management (including circular economy)

  • Fuel supply chains for SMRs and advanced reactors, including uranium supplies

  • Innovation in fuel designs, including Advanced Technology Fuels

  • Decommissioning of nuclear facilities

During the discussion, Tim Gitzel (Cameco) noted that the rise in demand for nuclear power will lead to a rising demand for nuclear fuel. In this respect, it was noted that the fuel supply chain is now preparing to ramp up in order to meet growing demand. But in order to be successful policy frameworks need to be aligned in order to attract capital and investment.

When asked to provide an overview of what is happening in Japan in terms of developing new reactors and innovative fuels, Masanori Koguchi (JAEA) indicated that they are focusing on new rector technologies (such as fast breeders). He also noted that the treatment and disposal of high-level radioactive waste is a critically important issue when it comes to the  sustainable use of nuclear energy in Japan. 

Regarding spent fuel management and public engagement, Peter Baeten (SCK-CEN) underlined the importance of engaging with citizens on this topic. This is why Belgium is reaching out to the public to discuss options such as geological disposal. He noted that there are also other management options available such as reprocessing and that innovation is now being conducted into, for example, partitioning and transmutation. 

Laurence Piketty (CEA) followed on with some insights into technologies and solutions in use today which can help speed up the decommissioning she spoke about 3D modelling and virtual reality simulation which are being used in planning and training efforts to enable more efficient and safer processes.  In addition, drones are being used to map the initial and final radiological state at both site level and inside facilities. 

With the first Deep Geological Repository due to become operational within the next couple of years, Tiina Jalonen (Posiva Oy) gave some insights into how they earned the trust of stakeholders. She highlighted the importance of making public all results and safety assessments, right form the very beginning of the project. They also engaged with their workforce, encouraging them to also speak to their communities. 

Unable to attend the summit? Then watch the recording available from here!

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