NEA Mandates and Structures

Expert Group on Advanced Reactor Systems and Future Energy Market Needs (ARFEM)

Chair(s): Aiden PEAKMAN, United Kingdom
Secretary:  Henri PAILLERE
Vice-Chair(s): Ramesh SADHANKAR, Canada
Member(s):All NEA member countries
Full participant(s): European Commission
Under the NEA Statute
Observer(s)(International Organisation): International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
By agreement
Date of creation:09 March 2017
End of mandate:08 March 2019

Mandate (Document reference):

Mandate (Document extract):

Extract of document NEA/NDC(2017)3

Mission and objectives

The Expert Group on Advanced Reactor Systems and Future Energy Market Needs (ARFEM) will analyse to what extent reactors under development today, for instance small modular reactors or Generation IV reactor designs, could address the future energy market needs and conditions, as well as possible new environmental and regulatory constraints.

The expert group will look at both electricity and non-electric markets. For electricity markets, some experts anticipate that due to large penetrations of variable renewables, other sources of power generation will need to be much more flexible than today, capable of load-following with high ramp up/down rates. Others believe that due to demand smoothing and increased energy storage capacities, only limited load-following capabilities will be needed. Today, nuclear power plants have the capability to load follow, though the ramp-up/down rates are much less than for peaking technologies such as gas. More advanced generation III reactor designs have greater flexibility than previous generations, and utility requirements actually specify flexibility capabilities (see EUR + also new EU grid code). It is not clear today what will be the flexibility capabilities of more innovative reactor designs such as those of Generation IV reactors which could be deployed in the 2030-2040 time frame.

If the whole energy sector needs to be decarbonised, technologies that can produce low-carbon heat will be required to substitute fossil-based heat. Nuclear power plants can provide both low-carbon electricity and heat. The expert group will therefore investigate what are the cogeneration capabilities of various advanced reactor designs, as well as the flexibility they may have to switch from electricity generation to heat production depending on electricity market conditions.

Organisational structure and mode of operation and co-operation.

Members of the expert group will be nominated by the members of the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and Fuel Cycle (NDC). Nominated experts will meet on a regular basis (approximately twice a year) and will produce a report with NEA staff support. A workshop will be organised by the NEA in April 2017, back to back with meetings of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) to take benefit of the presence of GIF experts, to initiate the study.


The duration of the mandate is two years.