Title: Resisting Nuclear Proliferation Through Design - A Systems Approach to Nuclear Proliferation Resistance Assessment
Authors: RENDA G.
Publisher: University of Bristol
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC58146
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC58146
Type: PhD Theses
Abstract: Increasing worldwide concern about the cost and future availability of conventional energy resources is leading to a renewed interest in nuclear power systems as a major source for energy production. International initiatives such as the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) are supporting the development of the next generation of Nuclear Energy Systems (NES). These systems will have to be sustainable and economic, with minimum waste, enhanced safety levels, together with proliferation resistance and high physical protection robustness. A comprehensive proliferation resistance analysis of a future nuclear energy system is a complex task. Among the sources of complexity are 1) various important players with different views and needs; 2) intrinsic (technical) features and extrinsic (institutional) measures interacting with each other; 3) attributes that are often perversely interdependent such that action for success in one can have negative consequences for another; 4) incomplete information and high levels of uncertainty especially at the early stages of a project; 5) important and relevant aspects such as safeguardability, physical protection robustness and performance of systems nuclear material accounting and control (NMA/C) are generally not integrated and harmonised. In this work, the application of the Doing it Differently systems thinking approach to the PR analysis of a future nuclear energy system at a conceptual design stage has been tested. This required the development of a hierarchical model incorporating the analysis of intrinsic features and extrinsic measures in an integrated model which incorporates the views of the relevant players, including designers, regulators, safeguards inspectorates, and plant operators. The proposed model is not intended to be complete or even the best possible, rather the aim is to show that the approach adopted permits the achievement of the desired level of comprehensiveness. In particular, the model presented by the author has been built on the basis the experience gained during his participation to the EC JRC NUSAF research activities on nuclear non-proliferation. The objectives of the study were: 1) to show how the approach has the potential to take into account the relevant aspects of proliferation resistance and the relevant players' points of view in a coherent framework; 2) to show it is possible to integrate the knowledge and experience of past studies; 3) to provide significant and useful support to system's designers at very early design stages, where information is still vague and largely incomplete, by explaining the evidence for success that the obtainable information contains and by pointing out the areas where information is lacking or not dependable; 4) to be able to handle uncertainty by investigating the use of Italian flags. The work, including a simple illustrative case study showed that the Doing it Differently approach can address all the above desiderata and can facilitate an integration of varying types of evidence about the likely success of both 'hard' and 'soft' system processes.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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