Welcome to the "Global Forum for Nuclear Innovation" network - GFNI
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
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
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.
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.
This network is being established to increase collaboration and experience sharing in the field of innovation for the nuclear industry. It also 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. The scope of the network activities includes all types of innovations that could serve the purpose of the nuclear industry sustainability. It should include activities in terms of technologies, processes, frameworks including regulatory aspects and collaboration, culture & leadership.
For further information or questions please contact GFNI.Contact-Point@iaea.org