IAEA unveils new version of advanced reactors database

The IAEA has launched a new design of its Advanced Reactors Information System (ARIS) database, which provides detailed technical summaries of the various advanced reactors being offered globally.

The ARIS is an ideal online platform for Member States considering their first nuclear power plant or for those seeking to expand their existing programmes through new construction.

ARIS is a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate database that offers technical design descriptions for advanced reactors that are under design, in construction, or in operation. It includes reactors of all sizes and types, from evolutionary nuclear power plant designs for near-term deployment to the latest innovative reactor concepts that are under development.

The design descriptions included in the ARIS database are provided to the IAEA by the various design organizations in Member States. The Agency’s Nuclear Power Technology Development Section (NPTDS), which launched the database in 2009 and responsible for its maintenance, ensures that the presented information is consistent, clear, unbiased and has easily searchable sets of data.

The recent update of the system will help reactor developers in several Member States to consider and incorporate innovative molten salt reactor (MSR) technologies in their national nuclear power programmes. In addition, the new online version has a specific section allocated for small and medium sized reactors (SMRs). By simply clicking on the icons of different reactor technologies, the reader will be able to access specific lists of those class or categories of reactors. Under a “Characteristics” tab comparisons of the various reactor characteristics, such as thermal capacity, operating temperature and core power density can be displayed.

Across the world, several IAEA Member States continue to research, develop or deploy advanced fission reactors. There is an increased global interest in developing and deploying fast reactors. Further, the role of SMRs in meeting energy requirements is also gaining attention due to the need for more flexible power generation and economic affordability. Using passive safety features based on natural forces such as gravity and natural circulation as opposed to relying on active components such as electrically powered pumps, motors and emergency diesel generators are among the SMRs’ features that can also ensure continued operation and offer enhanced safety performance.

There are about 50 SMR designs and concepts and three of which are under construction. A summary of global developments in 2015 in the field of advance fission reactors is also included in the IAEA’s Nuclear Technology Review 2016.

The new design of ARIS will help interested stakeholders to swiftly and efficiently access relevant information on the various types of nuclear power reactors.