Twenty-seven professionals from seven countries recently took part in an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) school in Uzbekistan to learn about assessing nuclear power systems for long-term sustainability.

The weeklong regional INPRO School, held in Tashkent, introduced participants to the set of tools and methodologies used by INPRO to assess key aspects of nuclear energy projects including economics, safety, waste management, proliferation resistance, and environmental impact. Representatives from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan took part in the event.

“The IAEA INPRO school gives a strategic vision and methods for planning nuclear energy in the countries for decades,” said Ilkham Sadikov, Director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, which helped organise the school. “Local participants from various nuclear related organizations also joined international attendees. The knowledge they gained is crucial, as Uzbekistan is a newcomer country, making it essential to have a clear vision for the future development of nuclear energy.”

Through a comprehensive instruction programme, the participants gained not only theoretical knowledge but also practical skills for applying selected methods and tools for modelling and analysing nuclear power systems. Incorporating group projects and hands-on exercises strengthened participants’ understanding while also fostering teamwork and cooperation.

A highlight of the programme was a technical tour to the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. Participants got a first-hand look at advanced research facilities and existing nuclear technologies including an electron accelerator-based complex and a nuclear reactor.

“With INPRO School, I am now better prepared to pave the way for the sustainable development of nuclear energy in my country. This experience has not only increased my competence, but also sparked a beacon of progress for my country. I am deeply grateful to the IAEA,” said Alimzhan Zhanbirbayev from Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plant JSC.

Both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are newcomer countries that have been working with the IAEA to develop the necessary infrastructure for a safe, secure and sustainable nuclear power programme. Both countries have hosted IAEA-led Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review missions to assess the status of their nuclear infrastructure development.

The INPRO methodology serves to strengthen countries’ long-range and strategic planning for nuclear power. A globally recognized framework founded in 2000, INPRO is a membership-based project that provides support towards innovative improvements in reactors, fuel cycles and institutional approaches that will promote the sustainable expansion of nuclear energy. It also serves as a platform for dialogue among nations, providing tools and services that enhance the understanding of the various options for shaping a sustainable nuclear energy future.