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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has produced new guidance to countries planning to adopt nuclear power. In a document titled 'Initiating Nuclear Power Programmes: Responsibilities and Capabilities of Owners and Operators', the IAEA provides advice on establishing and developing a nuclear power plant's owner/operator.

The Ostrovets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus (Image: IAEA)

Published in the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series, the report assumes that the same organisation will own and operate the nuclear power plant, hence the term 'owner/operator'. It takes into account more than 10 years of experience and good practices in countries that are introducing nuclear power, as well as lessons learned during Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions, and IAEA technical assistance activities to newcomer countries.

"The new publication represents a significant revision of a document first issued in 2009," said Jose Bastos, technical lead in the IAEA's Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Section. "It provides detailed information on the owner/operator's activities and responsibilities for each of the 19 infrastructure issues in Phases 2 and 3 of the Milestones Approach. In addition, we have also added detailed references to other relevant IAEA documents, including IAEA Safety Standards."

Together with the nuclear energy implementing organisation (NEPIO) and the nuclear regulatory body, the NPP owner/operator is one of the three key organisations identified in the Milestone's Approach, which is the IAEA's framework for developing a nuclear power programme.

After a country decides to launch a nuclear power programme at the end of Phase 1, the owner/operator in Phase 2 needs to conduct a feasibility study, evaluate different technologies and select the preferred ones, prepare a financial plan, and negotiate a contract for the plant. In Phase 3, the responsibilities of the owner/operator include applying for the required licences, overseeing construction and preparing for operation.

The new publication is intended for decision makers, owner/operator executives and staff as well as others in organisations involved in the nuclear power programme. It may also be useful to countries expanding their nuclear power programmes after long periods without new projects, the IAEA said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Thursday, 12 March 2020
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