Keywords: nuclear desalination, safety, IAEA, international cooperation
Safety aspects of future nuclear desalination plants: IAEA activities and world efforts
The use of nuclear reactors for seawater desalination has been investigated extensively for more than ten years and various designs of nuclear reactors have been proposed for future nuclear desalination plants. All such plants should satisfy recent safety requirements. In this paper, we firstly review the general safety requirements to be imposed on future nuclear desalination plants. Secondly, the safety of evolutionary and innovative reactors that can be used as desalination reactors is reviewed. The focus is placed on small and medium reactors, which have better compatibility with desalination plants in developing countries. Finally, specific safety aspects of nuclear desalination plants are summarised. It has been recognised that technologies for safe nuclear desalination plants already exist and reactors for nuclear desalination plants are expected to have a high safety performance and low cost. The safety concerns in nuclear desalination are those directly related to nuclear reactors. Therefore, future nuclear desalination plants will be designed, constructed and operated in accordance with internationally recognised safety standards such as the relevant IAEA safety standards for nuclear power plants. International cooperation and harmonisation, in the area of safety, appears to be desirable and the IAEA is ready to play a leadership role in such activities.