Many governments around the world are revising their energy policies to pursue new or extend existing nuclear capacity. Nuclear energy is set to be a major contributor to many countries’ plans to meet net zero and ensure energy security. In this context, great attention is brought to advanced fuel cycles, including partitioning and transmutation (P&T), specifically to optimise the use of natural resources and waste management.
At the forefront of these areas, the NEA has been organising biennial information exchange meetings on actinide and fission product partitioning and transmutation (IEMPT) since 1990 to provide experts and stakeholders with a unique forum to discuss strategic and scientific developments in the whole range of advanced fuel cycles.
The sixteenth edition (16IEMPT) was held at the NEA headquarters on 24-27 October 2023, in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and was supported by the EU-funded PATRICIA project, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), MYRRHA and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). The event gathered more than 90 participants from 17 countries and 3 international organisations.
In his opening remarks, NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, noted “We are at the threshold of a very new era and I think it is time for fresh thinking and fresh ideas, and among those fresh ideas is that we need to rely on partitioning and transmutation technologies to be sure that we can meet the climate challenge, to have energy security and to make sure that we minimise the toxicity of nuclear waste that are produced by these technologies.”
The event programme included presentations on national and international programmes, and specific contributions on fuel cycle strategies and scenarios, advanced systems and R&D infrastructures, modelling and data, advanced fuels, progress in pyro and aqueous separation process, waste management, and innovative utilisations of actinides and fission products.
Marking the 30th anniversary of the IEMPT, the event provided an opportunity to celebrate the past and embrace the future with vibrant discussions on how advanced cycles and the fuel cycle community can support the development and deployment of novel nuclear systems and help build a circular economy for nuclear energy.
Finally, the participants stressed the importance of improving communication with stakeholders, including governments and the public, and foster stronger connections with the “disposal community”.