The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) announced a new collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) on an upcoming NEA Joint Project focusing on waste management strategies for small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced nuclear energy systems.
Following the inaugural government-industry conference, NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, and EPRI Senior Vice President Neil Wilmshurst finalised EPRI support for the development of the project. WISARD will bring together experts from all areas of the nuclear power life cycle to consider how these innovative systems may require equally innovative waste management solutions. EPRI is the first financial backer of WISARD and anticipates a productive collaboration with the NEA to support a robust and ongoing commitment to sustainability in future nuclear systems.
The WISARD project programme of work seeks to capitalise on the current opportunity to integrate sustainable waste management strategies from the very beginning of SMR and advanced reactor development. The project will create a first-of-a-kind international platform focusing on the specific characteristics of used fuel and radioactive waste from SMRs and advanced reactors. Subsequent work will then build on this knowledge to assess the suitability of current waste management solutions for the next generations of spent fuel and radioactive waste. The project will focus on four key used fuel and radioactive waste topics:
- Long-term disposal;
- Treatment, recycling and reprocessing;
- Intermediate storage.
By assessing the back-end impacts of front-end and reactor design decisions, the WISARD project will enable early identification of future issues to provide system vendors, facility operators and government bodies with the opportunity to address problems in an efficient and sustainable manner.
EPRI’s extensive experience of collaborating with scientists, engineers, governments and academia to drive innovation from conception to shutdown will be a valuable addition to the WISARD project. The EPRI aim to shape the future of energy by identifying issues, technology gaps and the broader needs of the energy sector complements the WISARD project goals. The NEA will continue to seek opportunities to collaborate on an international scale to support the sustainability of next-generation nuclear systems.