The Moscow branch of Rosatom Technical Academy carried out an International round table on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). More than 50 representatives from 21 countries took part in this event. During the round table, the participants discussed the possibilities of using SMRs to ensure reliable carbon-free energy supply and also exchanged views on the strategy for SMRs’ technology development in the world.
“Nuclear energy plays a key role in meeting climate change issues. Development in this direction remains a major challenge for many countries. The global implementation of SMRs projects can be carried out by 2030 if their development rate stays at the same level” - said Mr Vladimir Artisyuk, an expert of the Nuclear Power Technology Development Section of the IAEA Nuclear Energy Department.
Mr Egor Sagachev, a training engineer at the Technical Academy, spoke about the role of nuclear energy and SMRs technologies in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In his report, Egor noted the key role that nuclear energy plays in reducing the greenhouse effect and increasing the proportion of the population with access to reliable and low-carbon energy. "SMRs are also able to make a significant contribution to the local economy by providing high-paying jobs, improving the urban environment, and contributing to advanced education and technology development" - noted Mr Egor Sagachev.
Within the pogramme of the event national case studies from Zambia and Turkey were presented. Mr Frederick Chewe, a representative of the Zambian Ministry of Energy, spoke about the problem of electricity shortages in the country and also shared the current status of the development of a nuclear energy program. "Zambia is planning to implement several projects for the construction of nuclear power plants with SMRs in the perspective up to 2050. However, today the country actively develop its security field" - he noted.
Turkey, which is facing the challenge of climate change, is considering the possibility of implementing a program of SMRs in addition to traditional nuclear power plants together with the Akkuyu NPP. Ms Tatyana Akin, a representative of the Ankara Chamber of Industry, clarified that "the main task is to build three nuclear power plants with a total number of 12 power units (including SMRs) by 2035".
Mr Anton Dyachenko, Head of the Centre of Advanced Nuclear Power Technologies at the Technical Academy outlined the main challenges of SMRs personnel training. The report covered the current projects for training personnel working on SMRs and the Academy's existing experience in training personnel at Russian facilities and training foreign specialists involved in the development of their country's national nuclear infrastructure.
“The availability of qualified workers is necessary for the construction of a nuclear power plant and its safe operation in the future. Understanding the personnel training process and the emerging challenges associated with personnel support of innovative facilities will allow us to develop and successfully implement a national personnel training strategy” - said Mr Anton Dyachenko.
Specialists from the OKBM Afrikantov, JSC, Ms Ksenia Belyaeva and Ms Daria Voronkova presented Russian projects of the RITM-200 and RITM-400 reactors and an innovative project of the one of a kind Floating Power Unit. Mr Sergey Kanaev, chief Technologist of Rosenergoatom, shared the Russian experience in licensing, construction and operation of Floating Nuclear Power Plants (FNPPs). In addition to the reports, a virtual tour to the first Russian FNPP Akademik Lomonosov was organized.
The event ended with a discussion, the participants were able to ask questions to the speakers, exchange views and contacts.
In recent years, solving the problems of nuclear energy has led to the development of technologies for SMRs. According to the IAEA, more than 80 SMRs projects are being developed in 19 countries around the world, and the first units are already operating in China and Russia. SMRs, including Microreactors (MRs), are expected to be important in ensuring reliable energy supply as well as in the global energy transition to zero emissions.
The creation of an international dialogue on knowledge sharing between countries in the implementation of SMRs projects will solve many technical, economic, social and political issues and ensure the solution of the problem of large-scale implementation of carbon-free technologies around the world.