Assess and ensure!
Decision to develop a nuclear power program brings upon the State long-term commitments for sustainable development not to be undermined. For the nuclear power program to be efficient and safe the State should plan and think through all the stages of nuclear fuel cycle. Its structure is directly related to energy planning, economic feasibility and continuous safe operation of nuclear power industry.
The impact and benefits of fuel cycle facilities must be assessed over the entire fuel cycle (front end, fuel fabrication, in-reactor use, spent fuel storage, recycling (if applicable), waste management and disposal).
Throughout nuclear fuel cycle modelling the State must ensure that fuel cycle technologies are developed in a way that ensure safety and efficiency, sustainability and economic feasibility of the nuclear fuel cycle. The policies and strategies regarding the long term availability of nuclear fuel, spent fuel and radioactive waste management should be developed for the program to be viable and publicly accepted.
The Government should study the scenarios for a variety of reactor types and systems of reactors, including transition scenarios from open to closed fuel cycles.
It is of high importance that the studies and decisions are transparent and available for the various stakeholders. It should be well-known that the entire fuel cycle is considered from the front to the back end with regards to its impact on people and environment and decisions made are well-thought-out.
Among other issues the State should consider are:
- nuclear security (Fuel cycles must ensure that the nuclear security requirements are implemented for all the activities within the project)
- development of research&development and industrial infrastructure, educational, regulatory frameworks
- management strategies
- the issues of organization of transportation of fresh and spent nuclear fuel
- budget availability- Economic resource availability is essential to ensure the long term availability (over centuries) and viability of nuclear power.
- possibilities of changes of various energy source availability, of social values and technologies development - Therefore, in order to be able to respond to changes in societal values or advances in technology, fuel cycle systems, processes and components should benefit from efficiency and safety improvements, be designed to be flexible and replaceable to the extent possible, either at the end of their lifetime or when superseded by better technology and etc.
Thus, understanding the structure of nuclear fuel cycle, its certain stages and their possible deployment in the country either alone or in cooperation with the vendor is one of the key in the formation of a national nuclear infrastructure.