The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) once again brings together the fast reactor and related fuel cycle community by organizing the International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles: Sustainable Clean Energy for the Future (FR21). The IAEA welcomes and encourages the participation of women, early career professionals and individuals from developing countries.
Please Note: The IAEA is committed to providing this significant forum for our community. We recognize the importance of providing a physical meeting place to share and discuss fast reactor and related fuel cycle technology. We are not considering replacing FR21 with a virtual conference if the situation changes and we are unable to hold our conference together. Instead the conference will be postponed until a time where we are able to safely meet. We encourage your participation and look forward to seeing you all in Beijing in May 2021.
Purpose and Objective
The conference is aimed at providing a forum to exchange information on national and international programmes, and more generally new developments and experiences, in the field of fast reactors and related fuel and fuel cycle technologies. The conference will have the following general objectives:
- To identify and discuss strategic and technical options, including potential capabilities in mitigation of the climate change while reducing the burden of generated high level waste.
- To promote the development of fast reactors and related fuel cycle technologies to enhance nuclear energy development in a safe, proliferation resistant, environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner.
- To identify research and development gaps and key issues that need to be addressed in relation to the industrial deployment of these nuclear power technologies.
- To engage young scientists and engineers in this field, in particular with regards to the development of innovative fast reactor concepts
The first International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles (FR09) was held in Kyoto, Japan, in 2009 and was subtitled “Challenges and Opportunities”. The second conference (FR13) was held in Paris, France, in 2013 with the theme “Safe Technologies and Sustainable Scenarios”. The third conference (FR17) was held in Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation, in 2017, celebrating the sodium cooled fast reactor BN-800's connection to the grid in December 2015 at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant (NPP).
The nuclear industry has from its inception recognized the important role of fast reactors and related fuel cycles in ensuring the long term sustainability of nuclear power. Fast reactors operated in a closed fuel cycle help to improve the utilization of resources — both fissile and fertile materials — used in nuclear fuels. This improvement is possible because fast reactors can breed fissile materials and, using modern fuel cycle technologies, recycle materials bred in these reactors. In this way, fast reactors and related fuel cycle technologies can make an enormous contribution to the sustainability of nuclear energy production. They have the potential to produce a hundred times more energy from natural uranium resources. At the same time, fast neutrons favour fission of heavy atoms, instead of capture, so they can also be used to transmute minor actinides, thereby reducing the demands on geological repositories for the final disposal of nuclear waste. Many countries are actively developing reactor, coolant, fuel and fuel cycle technologies. Reactor technologies under development include sodium- , lead- , gas-, molten salt- and even supercritical water-cooled systems and technologies and accelerator-driven systems. In parallel, several demonstration projects, ranging from small to large scale, are under study or construction. For such nuclear energy systems to become viable for industrial deployment in the coming decades, designers will have to increase their level of safety in order to gain public acceptance. Harmonization of safety standards at the international level could play a leading role in achieving these goals.