31 Aug 2023

Training Young Professionals on Nuclear Energy Sustainability

The International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) was launched in 2000, based on the resolution of the IAEA General Conference (GC(44)/RES/21), to ensure nuclear energy is available and can contribute in a sustainable manner to the global energy needs until the end of the century and beyond. 

INPRO promotes technological and institutional innovations in the development and deployment of safe and secure nuclear energy systems, economically viable and environmentally sustainable. INPRO activities to support the Member States with their long range and strategic planning, collaboration on innovations in reactors, fuel cycles and institutional approaches promoting the sustainable development of nuclear energy, and capacity building, are carried-out by four tasks areas, as follows: Task 1. Global Scenarios; Task 2. Innovations; Task 3. Sustainability Assessment and Strategies; Task 4. Dialogue and Outreach. 

IAEA assists and guides Member States in capacity building through various educational and training programmes. The IAEA INPRO School aims to introduce the INPRO concept of nuclear energy sustainability and to develop competences for strategic planning, assessment and analysis of nuclear energy systems. The School can be adapted to the specific needs upon requests from Member States, being organized both as: 1) Regular School – familiarization with INPRO concepts and basic introductory training on modelling and analysis of nuclear energy systems (NES) using a set of decision support tools developed by INPRO, and 2) Advanced School - training is going in-depth on challenges regarding nuclear energy sustainability and strategic planning. The school offers a unique opportunity for capacity building and career growth by interacting and networking with international nuclear energy experts and peers. (web site: www.iaea.org/inpro , email: inpro.contact-point@iaea.org)

Group photo - Joint ICTP-IAEA INPRO School on Nuclear Energy Sustainability, 12-16 June 2023, Trieste
Group photo - Joint ICTP-IAEA INPRO School on Nuclear Energy Sustainability, 12-16 June 2023, Trieste

Last Joint ICTP-IAEA INPRO School was held on 12-16 June 2023, at the ICTP’s headquarters in Trieste (Italy). The event was co-organized by the IAEA - INPRO section and ICTP, and attracted the interest of about 30 young professionals working in nuclear energy field and students at technical universities from 24 countries as follows: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Ukraine, and Viet Nam. The training technical and practical works support was assured by 9 experts, 5 experts from the IAEA and 4 international experts.

During the School, the participants explored different aspects of nuclear energy related to achieving the sustainable development based on a long-term strategic planning. The lectures included in the training covered the main topics of INPRO School Curriculum: I) Energy planning and strategies for sustainable development; II) Planning for nuclear energy sustainability; III) INPRO methodology for assessing sustainability of NESs; IV) Role of innovations for sustainability of NESs; V) INPRO methods and tools for modelling and analysis of NESs; VI) Application of INPRO tools for strategic planning of NES. In practical teamwork projects, participants were encouraged to work with colleagues from diverse national, cultural, and professional backgrounds. 

RATEN ICN has participated in collaborative projects under INPRO Task 1 (SYNERGIES, KIND, ROADMAPS, CENESO, ASENES SMR) from 2010. The RATEN ICN representative in INPRO has shared the experience in nuclear energy field at the INPRO Dialogue Forums; lecturer and instructor for the IAEA Regional training courses on Nuclear Energy System Modelling and Assessment using the INPRO methodology; updating, testing and improving the IAEA’s NEST (NESA Economic Tool); preparing, reviewing and updating lectures, presentations, exercises and other training materials for IAEA INPRO Task 1 Service to Member States, ASENES (Analysis Support for Enhanced Nuclear Energy Sustainability); preparing, reviewing and updating lectures, exercises and other training materials for IAEA e-Learning training courses on NES modelling, comparison and roadmapping. 

The work carried out by RATEN ICN representative in INPRO as invited international expert for the Joint ICTP-IAEA INPRO School at Trieste can be summarized in the following: 

  • Development and delivery of lectures and training materials on: Demonstration of KIND-ET tool; Application of KIND-ET for a Multicriteria Comparative Evaluation of SMR and Large Reactor in Romania’s Energy System; Demonstration of MESSAGE-NES for developing Nuclear Energy Scenarios; 
  • Development of training materials for practical exercises and group project: Exercises face-to-face &Group projects assignments for KIND-ET tool;
  • Assistance in conducting practical exercises and mentoring group projects on the following topics: Nuclear Economics (using INPRO Tool NEST); Mass-flow and Economics of Nuclear Energy Systems (using suite of NES Simulator developed in INPRO); Comparative Analysis of Nuclear Energy Systems (using INPRO Tool KIND-ET).

Practical works – RATEN ICN representative in INPRO mentoring teamwork groups of participants
Practical works – RATEN ICN representative in INPRO mentoring teamwork groups of participants

Mentoring activities were conducted as a helpful support for the participants to:

  • understand KIND approach, practical aspects of KIND-ET tool application to multicriteria comparative analysis of nuclear technologies in a national case study, and interpretation of the results obtained in such evaluation;
  • use MESSAGE-NES to model a simple energy system including Nuclear Power Plant with Nuclear Fuel Cycle (simplified and more complex), understand and become familiar with energy supply and related modelling aspects (energy levels, energy forms, technologies, constraints, bounds) and MESSAGE-NES capabilities, developing scenarios to account for penalties on CO2 emissions, visualize and interpret the results obtained;
  • perform the exercises, understand and solve the assignments for the group projects on NEST, NES Simulators and KIND-ET INPRO tools.

The feedback, on-the-spot comments and recommendations provided to the participants were also of benefit for their work in preparing the group projects presentation at the end of the INPRO School.

The training was condensed to one week of intensive work, especially individual work of the participants after the daily program was completed, to become familiar with the approach and to apply the INPRO tools, and to prepare the presentation of group projects. At the end of the School, each presentation was delivered in a different but consistent way characteristic for each group, showing correct results together with their interpretation. The different and comprehensive approach of each team to present their findings and gathered experience in using the INPRO tools was a nice and fulfilling reward for the experts training the young participants to enlarge their perspective, skills and knowledge in modelling and analysis of nuclear energy systems.


Dr. Cristina Alice Margeanu