Integrity of Nuclear Facilities During Times of Conflict
The International Nuclear Society Council (INSC) calls on all parties to respect the integrity and well-being of nuclear facilities at all times, but especially during times of armed conflict. Military actions at nuclear facilities during the Russian invasion of Ukraine highlight the importance of ensuring the physical integrity of nuclear facilities and thereby protecting the public and plant workers from uncontrolled releases of potentially harmful radionuclides. INSC endorses International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Grossi’s identification of seven pillars required to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities. Those pillars are repeated below.1
- The physical integrity of the facilities – whether it is the reactors, fuel ponds or radioactive waste stores – must be maintained.
- All safety and security systems and equipment must be fully functional at all times.
- The operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure.
- There must be secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites.
- There must be uninterrupted logistical supply chains and transportation to and from the sites.
- There must be effective on-site and off-site radiation monitoring systems and emergency preparedness and response measures.
- And finally, there must be reliable communications with the regulator and others.
- “IAEA Director General Calls for Restraint, Reiterates Need to Ensure Safety of Ukraine’s Nuclear Facilities and Their Staff,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, March 2, 2022. (https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-director-general-calls-for-restraint-reiterates-need-to-ensure-safety-of-ukraines-nuclear-facilities-and-their-staff )
INSC Position Statement on Sustainability in the Energy Sector
The concept of sustainability (in energy), rightly at the forefront of people’s concerns, is in many instances not properly defined, and therefore misused. In some people’s minds, sustainability is limited to environment protection (“green”). This is by far too short seeing.
Energy policy is to be built on three pillars: environment protection (indeed), but also economics and affordability, and security and reliability of energy supply. Each pillar is of importance to contribute to societal sustainability, a larger definition, much more in line with the original concept of Brundtland as “a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Depending on individual priorities, one will give more weight to one pillar over the others, but an analysis based on facts and science shows that a balance must be struck between the three. There is no silver bullet, a perfect energy source matching the three pillars all together.
Each individual energy source must be analysed with pro and cons versus the three pillars. But even more, it is the whole energy system, integrating the contribution of the different sources, which must be considered.
The INSC considers that nuclear energy, as a fully decarbonised, affordable, secure and reliable energy source, has to play a major role in a sustainable energy system.
- Deffrennes, M. (2022). Role of nuclear fission energy from past to future: Critical issues: Energy policy and market design, cost control, innovation and flexibility. In Fundamental Issues Critical to the Success of Nuclear Projects (pp. 3-22). Woodhead Publishing.
- Boucau, J. (2021). Fundamental Issues Critical to the Success of Nuclear Projects. Elsevier Science & Technology.
Small Modular Reactors
For the purpose of this International Nuclear Society Council (INSC) position statement, small modular reactors (SMRs) are defined as nuclear reactors with power outputs of 300 MWe or less per module and include both light water reactor (LWR) and non-LWR advanced reactors. While the existing nuclear power plants have been successfully suppling carbon-free electricity economically and will continue to do so for many countries in foreseeable future, the small size and modular nature of SMRs have potential to meet rapidly changing world carbon-free energy demand with improved flexibility.
The smaller size of SMRs means that most systems can be manufactured and assembled in the factory, compared to traditional LWRs, for which a larger fraction of the work must be done on the construction site. As a result of automation, factory fabrication offers an opportunity to achieve high quality, along with repeatability, which can lead to improved standardization and lower costs. SMRs have inherent safety features due to smaller reactor core size permitting reduced emergency planning zones. Thus, SMRs can be located closer to population centers, and the siting flexibility implies that energy can be supplied near the demand, minimizing investment in transmission.
The modular approach permits investment requirements to be more gradual and levelized over the years. Moreover, some SMRs operate at high temperatures and are particularly well-suited for both electricity generation and other energy applications such as process heat and hydrogen production. SMRs are designed for high operational flexibility in addition to reliability, and therefore are able to complement variable renewable energy sources and support society with clean energy.
The International Nuclear Society Council calls on all parties to recognize the near-term opportunity presented by SMRs to provide safe, reliable, clean, and affordable energy to meet the demands of society for clean energy. INSC supports advancing the R&D, testing, regulations, manufacturing capabilities and policies necessary to enable the deployment of first-of-a-kind SMRs, leading to a broad use of standardized reactors and to a possible global deployment of these technologies in the near future. INSC sees that the investment in SMRs is an additional support to the successfully operating and under construction large reactors, and it is justified by further expanding the role of nuclear energy in the world.
International Nuclear Societies Council (INSC) Position Statements Guidelines
May 2022 – Revision D
These guidelines describe the desired content of INSC Position Statements. The guidelines also establish the process for creating, revising, retiring and maintaining INSC Position Statements.
Position Statement Content and Style
Position Statements are concise, straightforward narrative statements of the INSC position on public issues. Position Statements typically address scientific and technical issues but they must be written in a manner that is clear and understandable to a non-technical audience (e.g., members of the public). Summary justifications for positions may be included as space allows. Recommendations should be practical and reasonably achievable. References are encouraged but should be carefully selected to be readily available (including internet links), relevant and supportive.
Position statements will be assigned a sequential number (e.g., XX) upon adoption. References to a position statement should refer to the revision and include the date or initial issue or most recent revision. Example: “INSC Position Statement 3, Revision 2 – Nuclear Technology is Good for the Human Race (June 2022).
Position Statements may be accompanied by a Background Information Document (BID). A BID is a separate document that supports the Position Statement. A BID is not required but may be provided to enable inclusion of detailed technical information, discussion of alternatives, etc. The BID must be developed specifically to support the Position Statement; it is not appropriate to simply attach related information that was created for another purpose. As with the Position Statement itself, well-chosen references are encouraged in a BID.
INSC positions on issues should reflect a consensus of INSC member societies. Therefore, positions are expected to be high-level and generally applicable internationally. If specific recommendations for actions are included, those recommendations should be clear and consistent with the remainder of the position statement. Ideally, position statements themselves will be short, about one-half page, and should in no event be longer than a page. If it is necessary or desirable to provide additional information, that should be done with a BID, as described above.
Formatting for position statements should be consistent with the example provided in Attachment 1. Each active position statement entry on the INSC website should consist of the position statement and the BID (if any). The position statement and BID should each be page numbered sequentially.
Creating a New Position Statement
Any member society may propose a new INSC position statement. The member society should provide the INSC officers with a written proposal that includes the following:
- Position statement topic
- Position statement scope
- Need or rationale (i.e., answer the question “Why is it desirable that INSC establish a position statement on this topic?)
- Summary of recommendations or findings (the anticipated “bottom line”)
- Society or individual that will take the lead for developing the actual position statement.
The proposal is expected to be short, on the order of one-half page.
The INSC officers should evaluate the proposal and determine if such an INSC position statement is warranted. The evaluation will include (i) a determination of whether or not any other existing position statements already cover the topic, (ii) whether the proposed position will impact any other established positions, and (iii) if it is likely the INSC will be able to develop a consensus on the topic.
The development of the position statement may proceed once the officers have agreed by consensus that it is needed. The officers may provide additional guidance to the individual or society that has the lead for developing the position statement.
The lead individual or society will develop a draft position statement for officer review. If the draft position statement is to be accompanied by a BID, the draft BID should accompany the draft position statement. Once the officers have determined that the draft material is ready for approval, it will be provided for a vote by all voting delegates. Note: While not required, the INSC officers should consider issuing a draft position statement for comment prior to issuing the draft position statement for formal vote.
Each delegate will vote in one of the following categories.
The draft position statement is adopted if there is a quorum (as defined in the INSC Bylaws) and at least 70 per cent of the votes cast are to “Approve.” If it is not adopted, the lead individual or society may choose to modify the position statement and resubmit it for another vote. When a position statement is approved, all member societies should be informed and the position statement should be made publicly available on the INSC website as an “Active Position Statement.” INSC may choose to issue the position statement to other organizations (International Atomic Energy Agency, governments, non-governmental organizations, regulators, etc.).
All position statements should, at a minimum, be provided in English. Any member society may provide a translation in another language if it so desires. However, the English version will be the sole official version.
Revising a Position Statement
Any member society may identify the need to revise a position statement. The member society may propose a revision or request the officers to assign responsibility for developing a revision. Once a draft revision is prepared, the process for initial approval, as outlined above, should be followed.
Note: The INSC Chair may make minor editorial corrections to a position statement at any time, provided those changes do not affect the meaning of the position statement. The INSC member societies should be notified about any such changes.
Retiring a Position Statement
Any member society may propose that a position statement be retired. The position statement is retired based on a vote of 70 per cent of delegates to retire the statement. Upon retirement, the position statement should be removed from the “Active Position Statements” on the website. The officers may elect to retain the position statement on the website under the category of “Retired Position Statements.” All retired position statements should be clearly identified as no longer constituting an official position of the INSC.
Maintenance of Position Statements
The officers should periodically review INSC’s Active Position Statements and arrange for revision or retirement of any that are out of date or no longer appropriate. Ideally each position statement will be reviewed no less frequently than every five years.
Example INSC Position Statement
This example position statement is provided as guidance for formatting INSC position statements. It is not an actual position statement.
The International Nuclear Society Council (INSC) finds that nuclear technology is good for the human race. Nuclear power provides clean, reliable, and affordable electricity. Ionizing radiation is used in the detection and treatment of cancer and in other medical applications. There are many beneficial industrial applications of nuclear technology, including food preservation, smoke detectors, and verification of quality of welds.
To increase the benefits to mankind, the INSC makes the following recommendations.
- All countries should establish a workable framework of laws and regulations that will enable the safe application of nuclear technology.
- All countries should support the International Atomic Energy Agency in its efforts to encourage peaceful uses of nuclear materials and radiation.
Practical applications of nuclear technology began with the development of x-rays in the late 1800s. Over the course of the next half century the world became increasingly aware of the promise as well as potential peril inherent in radioactive materials and ionizing radiation.
The development of atomic weapons in the 1940s hastened the end of World War II but killed hundreds of thousands of people. For many people, nuclear fission was indelibly connected with destruction. In the 1950s the world began to appreciate better the beneficial potential for generating electricity through nuclear fission. Today, more than 400 nuclear power plants generate about 10 per cent of the world’s electricity.1 There is increasing appreciation among the public of the benefits associated with the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
In addition to generating power from fission, radioisotopes have many beneficial applications in today’s society. These include medical applications (both diagnostic and therapeutic), preservation of food, space exploration, insect control, carbon dating, weld verification, and smoke detectors.2
- Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, “Energy”, 2020. Published online at Our World in Data, Electricity Mix, (https://ourworldindata.org/electricity-mix).
- World Nuclear Association, The Many Uses of Nuclear Technology, May 2021 (https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/overview/the-many-uses-of-nuclear-technology.aspx).
 With respect to the review, approval, revision, and retirement processes, the phrase “position statement” is assumed to include the associated BID if a BID accompanies the position statement. The position statement and BID are approved, revised, or retired as a package.