The NEA is organising a series of webinars to explore the use of disruptive technologies in nuclear applications and discuss the future shape of nuclear safety systems, together with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and the Korean Nuclear Society (KNS). The first event in the series focused on the NEA Nuclear Innovation 2050 Initiative (NI2050) and the initiative’s key outcomes, particularly those related to nuclear safety.
The second event in the series took place on 30 March 2021 and provided an overview of emerging digital technologies and key factors affecting their adoption. The panellists discussed the effects and possible implementation of these technologies in nuclear applications. They also addressed the regulatory viewpoints on safety innovations, as well as examples and lessons learnt from other industries.
There are numerous benefits to embracing innovative technologies in the nuclear sector. They could help ensure the continued enhancement of nuclear safety worldwide, but also have great potential to improve efficiency, productivity and competitiveness. However, there are challenges to overcome, particularly with respect to uncertainties in the quantification of the benefits of various technologies; the limited availability of people with appropriate skills and experience in these new technologies; and the environment in which the nuclear sector operates.
The panel agreed that the successful adoption of disruptive technologies in the nuclear sector will require collaboration across different industrial sectors, as well as international and multilateral co-operation among national nuclear regulators across the globe. “In most cases, the nuclear sector is not going to be the first user of these technologies,” noted NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV. “There are many other industries that have already gained great experience in the use of these advanced technologies and we have a lot to learn from them.”
The webinar series will continue in April with two more events focusing on data innovation and cyber security. The series will culminate with a high-level conference to be hosted by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) in Jeju, Korea at the end of 2021 or in early 2022.