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Nuclear Newcomers: Getting Organized for Success

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Coordination among stakeholders is key for any complex undertaking. Introducing nuclear power is no different. The IAEA has recently issued a publication that can help nuclear newcomer countries set up and maintain an effective coordination mechanism, referred to as a nuclear energy programme implementing organization (NEPIO). A NEPIO is an important element of the IAEA Milestones Approach, an internationally accepted, comprehensive framework for nuclear power programme development.

Responsibilities and Functions of a Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization, published in the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series (No. NG-T-3.6 (Rev. 1)), describes a set of practical and detailed responsibilities, functions and activities that national authorities can use as guidance. This publication, which represents a significant revision of a document first issued in 2009, takes into account nearly 10 years of experience and good practices of countries that are introducing or have recently introduced nuclear power, as well as lessons learned during Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions and IAEA technical assistance activities to newcomer countries.

“There are many ways to structure a NEPIO and several could result in the successful execution of all functions and activities,” explained Sean Dunlop of the Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, who was responsible for this publication. “The 2009 publication focused on a single approach: it assumed that a NEPIO would be a new organization established specifically to manage the nuclear power programme, and we see this working well in some cases. In other embarking countries the government’s responsibilities and functions are discharged effectively by interagency policy committees and working groups rather than a single, stand-alone organization.”

In addition to describing a NEPIO’s responsibilities and functions, this revision defines the specific activities NEPIOs may carry out in relation to each of 19 infrastructure issues, ranging from a government’s national position on nuclear power to the procurement of items and services for the first nuclear power plant, during each phase of development.

The new publication recognizes that the NEPIO plays an important and evolving role in each of the three phases of nuclear power infrastructure development.