Countries at the threshold of a new nuclear project: global challenges and effective solutions
1 June 2016 | Rusatom Overseas

As a part of the VIII International Forum "ATOMEXPO 2016" held in Moscow, Russia, on May 31, Rusatom Overseas hosted a round table discussion titled "Countries at the threshold of a new nuclear project: global challenges and effective solutions." The issues raised during the discussion were of high interest and substantial value for both countries that are just embarking on the path of developing an indigenous nuclear power programme and nations that are experienced in implementing successful projects in the nuclear energy space. Guest experts fr om Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ghana, Jordan, Russia, Tunisia, Mexico as well as professionals from international organizations (IAEA, WNA, NEA and OECD) and leading consulting firms (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP (“Pillsbury”) and McKinsey & Company) participated in the discussion alongside with Rosatom and Rusatom Overseas experts. Upon request of Rusatom Overseas, Pillsbury also prepared a comprehensive report addressing the topics to be discussed in the session, which was distributed to participants. Milko Kovachev, Section Head of the Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section (NIDS), IAEA, and Jeremy Gordon, Head of Information Management, WNA, acted as the moderators of the round table discussion.

The round table session was opened by Evgeny Pakermanov, President of Rusatom Overseas. As the host of the discussion, Mr. Pakermanov noted that it was a great privilege for Rusatom Overseas to welcome such an experienced and renowned pool of experts at the round table, wh ere professionals had an opportunity to openly exchange their experiences and share views and opinions on issues of key importance to new nuclear project planning and implementation. He emphasized in his message that the development of nuclear infrastructure is currently a key priority for IAEA and that Rusatom Overseas strives to contribute to the knowledge base on this subject by organizing this discussion focusing on the introduction or expansion of nuclear power programmes in countries that are now at the threshold of a new nuclear project. Mr. Pakermanov also emphasized that, in light of the recent Paris Agreement on climate change and global aspirations to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, the next decades would be a breakthrough period for alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy.

As a part of the first session of the round table discussion, Milko Kovachev and Valery Karezin, Educational Programme Director at Rosatom's HR Department, made reports on key elements on nuclear infrastructure development. During this session, invited experts also delivered their views highlighting the importance of INIR missions and the IAEA's role in general in supporting newcomer countries. Human resources development was singled out as a crucial element of nuclear infrastructure, key to advancing national nuclear programme implementation. Participants shared their professional views on how to approach building nuclear infrastructure, citing their own national experience and lessons learned.

In the second session, Marc Deffrennes, Nuclear Analyst, NEA OECD, and Olga Wills, Advisor to President, Rusatom Overseas, made their respective contributions to the discussion, touching upon the latest trends in global nuclear industry development and key milestones and success factors in the implementation of new NPP projects. Round table expert participants noted the significance of project risk allocation and mitigation, including finding the right balance between the interests of all project stakeholders and in all aspects of nuclear project and nuclear programme development -- from technology choice and licensing process structure, to legal and regulatory framework and EPC contract provisions.

Round table participants agreed on the necessity of the consistent development of nuclear infrastructure elements and emphasized the importance of a responsible approach to the quality and scope of the proposed solutions on the part of the nuclear technology vendor. The role of government support and public acceptance was also noted as crucial. It was an overall consensus between the experts that "going nuclear" is not only about finding a sustainable energy source, but requires a 100+ year commitment to the implementation and management of a successful nuclear programme.

It was noted that the round table hosted by Rusatom Overseas was a lively and fruitful discussion of high level professionals and i could become a good practice for nuclear industry events to hold similar meetings.

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