Australia joins next generation nuclear energy ‘club’

AUSTRALIA was officially welcomed into the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Framework Agreement in September, a scientific partnership developing future nuclear energy technologies.

The CEO of the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Adi Paterson  said GIF was a cooperative international endeavour to “develop and design the next generation of nuclear energy systems” which would be a potential game-changer in global energy creation.

As the 14th Member of the GIF, Australian researchers will work with countries including Canada, France, Japan, China, South Korea, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. 

Members of GIF work collaboratively to develop what is known as Generation IV designs of nuclear energy systems, which will use fuel more efficiently; produce less waste; be more economically competitive; and meet stringent standards in relation to safety and non-proliferation.

He said GIF research was focused on six reactor designs that will deliver safe, secure, sustainable, competitive and versatile nuclear technology in the future.

Dr Paterson attended the ceremony at the OECD Château in France which officially welcomed Australia. The GIF Charter was signed in June last year, and the recent event marked Australia’s accession to the Framework Agreement.

This will enable Australia to become actively engaged in research and development projects related to Generation IV systems, particularly in relation to advanced materials.

“Australia has no nuclear power program, but we do have significant local expertise through which we can lend assistance in next-generation research, which is what this partnership is about,” Dr Paterson said..

"This agreement will enable Australia to contribute to an international group focused on peaceful use of nuclear technology, and the international energy systems of the future.

“Our participation in GIF is an affirmation of Australia’s exemplary research capabilities and STEM industry, strengthened by ANSTO’s expertise and highly developed nuclear science infrastructure,” Dr Paterson said.

“On Australia’s behalf, ANSTO will leverage our world-class capabilities, particularly in relation to the development of advanced materials with applications in extreme industrial environments, and of nuclear safety cases.

“Australia’s role on this global stage will see us sharing our expertise in nuclear research and technology, and will further our non-proliferation and nuclear safety objectives.

“It will also foster new avenues and opportunities to engage with global information sharing through this long-term research project.”

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