A Look at Member States Experiences and Updates on IAEA Milestones
IAEA General Conference
Representatives from Turkey, Kenya and Malaysia presented their countries’ nuclear power programmes. (Photo: A. Evrensel/IAEA)
Building sustainable nuclear power infrastructure was the focus of presentations by delegates from newcomer countries, Kenya, Malaysia and Turkey, at a side event held on 24 September 2014 on the margins of the annual IAEA General Conference.
The speakers from these three countries shared their experiences on how to tailor and make best use of the IAEA’s services to support the development of their national nuclear power infrastructures. Kenya, Malaysia and Turkey are at different stages of developing their national nuclear power infrastructure.
IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, Alexander Bychkov, highlighted the Agency’s on-going commitment to Member States embarking on a new nuclear power programme or expanding an existing programme. Understanding and learning from the practical experience of how these countries are coordinating IAEA support with national priorities and other bilateral cooperation would provide useful insights, said Deputy Director General Bychkov.
Chairing the event, Jong Kyun Park, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Power, said that this event would contribute to a better understanding of the progress and challenges faced by newcomer countries, which in turn would enhance the required international support and coordination.
In describing Kenya’s reasons to embark in the direction of nuclear energy, the Executive Chairman and CEO of Kenya’s Nuclear Electricity Board, George Ochilo Ayacko Mbogo, noted the growing energy demands of Kenya’s population of 40 million people. This demand, he said, could not be met or sustained with the current installed electricity capacity of approximately 2000 MW that is predominantly sourced from hydro and fossil fuel (thermal) sources.
A pre-feasibility study for embarking on a nuclear power programme, prepared with support from the IAEA, is providing Kenya with the information it needs to make a “knowledgeable decision” about the implementation of a nuclear power programme, Mr Mbogo emphasized. At the same time, Kenya is also pursuing human resources development; establishing a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework; reaching out to the public and other stakeholders; and considering potential funding and financing options. Kenya, in addition, has requested the IAEA to conduct an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission in August 2015. Other Member States supporting this programme are the United States, China, the Republic of Korea and Slovakia, said Mr Mbogo.
As part of its Economic Transformation Programme, Malaysia is exploring the nuclear energy option to meet future electricity demands and diversify its energy mix for Peninsula Malaysia. Mohamad Mohd Ali, from the Malaysian Ministry of Science and Technology, spoke on how his country was optimizing IAEA and international cooperation for a new nuclear power project, although the country has not yet made a final decision.
This included: information on the development of a legal regulatory framework; steps being taken to gain public confidence and approval of Malaysia’s nuclear power programme; the role of the IAEA in providing the necessary technical and scientific support for exploring nuclear energy options; and how this cooperation along with other international partners are vital to ensure that a new nuclear power programme would implement all the mandatory international statutory requirements and regulations.
Providing a look into Turkey’s efforts in introducing nuclear energy, Necati Yamac, Head of Turkey’s Nuclear Energy Project Implementing Department, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, described the model chosen for the country’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) project. In May 2010, Russia and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to develop a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) project at the Akkuyu site consisting of four units. Construction is expected to start in 2017. Mr Yamac highlighted advantages and challenges of the model chosen.
Mr Yamac explained Turkey’s need for nuclear power, based on the country’s increasing electricity demand and the desire to reduce energy dependency from imports currently standing above 70 percent. He stressed the importance of the role of the Turkish government in supporting the infrastructure for the BOO project. Turkey chose the BOO model because it places the responsibility for financing and financial risk management on the experienced side – the Russian party.
The project is also expected to attract significant foreign investment to Turkey. Finally, the model allows a newcomer country like Turkey to benefit from the experience of partners in the Russian Federation that have been building and operating nuclear power plants for decades. Mr Yamac finally stressed the role of the Turkish national regulatory body for nuclear safety to regulate and inspect the plant and the fact that this role is carried out irrespective on whether the power plant owner shareholders are foreign or local.
Update of IAEA Milestones Document
The meeting closed with an update on the IAEA’s revision of the widely referenced IAEA publication: Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power (IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NG-G-3.1). Anne Starz, Acting Section Head of the IAEA Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, explained the rationale, the revision process and the main changes introduced. The two year revision process, which started in 2012, included a comprehensive internal and external review, with over 600 written comments received from Member States.
The Milestones document remains the top level guidance for countries introducing nuclear power, said Ms Starz. She also emphasized that the revision is consistent with the original text to ensure it continues to be widely used, and reflects lessons learned from the Fukushima accident and recent newcomers’ experience. The updated version of the Milestones document will be published by early 2015.
All the presentations made at this side event can be found here.
— By Aabha Dixit, IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication
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