International evaluation acknowledges the SAFIR2022 and KYT2022 nuclear safety research programmes – Feedback on the SAFER2028 programme also provided
An international evaluation commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of the ongoing SAFIR2022 and KYT2022 safety research programmes for nuclear power plants and nuclear waste management has been completed. The evaluation, which also provided feedback on the preliminary plan for the SAFER2028 research programme, was published on 17 May 2022.
Public nuclear safety research programmes create preconditions for the continued safe and cost-effective use of nuclear power, preservation of necessary knowledge, development of new knowledge and participation in international cooperation.
The evaluation team noted that the ongoing SAFIR2022 and KYT2022 research programmes produce a significant level of high-quality scientific output. The programmes are funded by the designated funds of the Finnish State Nuclear Waste Management Fund, which collects the funds from licence holders of nuclear facilities and parties with a waste management obligation in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act.
The most important objective and value of the research programmes is to develop new competences and knowledge needed for the safety of nuclear power plants and nuclear waste management as well as for proportionate regulation.
According to the evaluation, research was in some cases aimed at well-established and mature topics, where the value added in terms of increased knowledge or improved safety could be considered marginal. However, these research topics can be deemed useful for the training of new experts.
The SAFIR 2022 and KYT2022 research programmes launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment develop Finnish expertise in nuclear safety and nuclear waste management. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) is involved in the programme management groups and research steering committees. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is in charge of programme coordination.
Plan for the future SAFER2028 research programme also assessed
The evaluators were also asked for their views on the preliminary plan of the SAFER2028 research programme. A six-year research programme, SAFER2028, will be launched in 2023 to bring the current national research on nuclear safety and nuclear waste management under the same programme.
The evaluation commended the new functions planned for the SAFER2028 research programme, especially the network of doctoral education. The results of the evaluation can be used to develop the new functions considerably.
The evaluators also welcomed the SAFER2028 plan’s research topics related to non-technical nuclear safety. In the current research programmes, funding for social and organisational projects has been relatively scarce.
Liisa Heikinheimo, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 567 5451
Jorma Aurela, Chief Engineer, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 592 2109