The Genesis: The Global Forum Initiative
Existing Light Water Reactor (LWR) technology is mature and current plants operate with high levels of safety, efficiency and capacity factors. The industry benefits from a highly skilled and motivated workforce and unique levels of cross-company and cross-border collaboration, that continuously need to be strengthened. Furthermore, climate change concerns and the need for non-carbon generation sources present a clear, continuing, vital role for nuclear power and there is growing recognition that nuclear and renewables are both needed as part of the future generation mix. Energy end-use transition (electrification) will further amplify the need for non-emitting generation.
That said, the current transition of the electricity industry—including cheap natural gas and/or the increasing penetration of variable renewable generation—is putting economic pressures on nuclear, challenging the economic sustainability of many plants. Post-Fukushima public support of nuclear has been “dented” and the nuclear industry is widely perceived to be locked-in to “old technology” and slow to embrace technology to improve. Nuclear technology has been challenged to take hold of new manufacturing capabilities being used regularly in other sectors to enhance productivity. Without a secure current fleet, it is unlikely the current staffing pipeline and supply chain will be sustained to support the future of the industry.
A coordinated GLOBAL effort (leveraging the unique collaborative culture of the industry) to identify innovation opportunities, understand the benefits and remove barriers to implementation is increasingly regarded as necessary.
Global Forum 2019
To reach this global effort, a first forum was co-organized by the IAEA, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the United Kingdom's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA) and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, from 10-12 June 2019. Delegates at
"Innovation for the Future of Nuclear Energy – A Global Forum" prioritized the most critical innovation technologies or processes and answered a set of questions to begin to pursue a plan of action for each of those innovations.
The idea of creating and supporting a network on innovation that would support the abovementioned plan to action and
momentum clearly appeared. The IAEA offered its capabilities to structure and facilitate this new initiative.
That being said, GFNI specifically aims at supporting the 2019 Global Forum call to action with the Top 4 Innovations as Machine Learning/Big Data, Framework for Sharable Data, Digital Twins, and Advanced Manufacturing and all other future Global Forum events.
Global Forum 2021
Current highlights: Due to the current Covid-19 situation, GF2020 was postponed to 2021. The Innovation for the Future of Nuclear, A Global Forum - 2nd edition will take place in London, February 28 - March 3, 2021. Regularly, the Steering Committee of this edition (EDF Energy, EPRI, the IAEA, the UK NNL and the OECD/NEA) is meeting virtually to organize the second edition of the Forum.
Public GFNI Calendar