Nuclear Technology / Volume 179 / Number 1 / July 2012 / Pages 106-111
Technical Paper / Special Issue on Safeguards / Fuel Cycle and Management
Proliferation resistance (PR) evaluations of nuclear energy systems provide a structured approach for assessing the value of both intrinsic and extrinsic barriers to proliferation. Ultimately, PR studies allow an evaluation of proposed safeguards, an identification of potential weaknesses or alternative safeguard approaches, and a basis for improving and enhancing safeguards. To facilitate understanding and sharing of results, PR evaluations should be carried out following a standardized approach that has international acceptance and that provides consistent results independent of the analysts carrying out the evaluation. Proliferation assessment methodologies such as those being developed under the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and IAEA's International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) provide the technical platforms for supporting overall evaluations, but their findings are unlikely to be directly used by decision makers. This situation arises because although all PR evaluation approaches develop valuable information about the proliferation resistance of a nuclear energy system, a significant effort is still required to make results of PR evaluations usable and understandable to decision makers. This paper identifies a reference set of decision makers and other users who could be informed by the results of PR assessments. Whether the INPRO, GIF, or another methodology is used, the need for useful information about the PR of their systems must be met. The paper examines the information needs of different classes of decision makers and presents ideas on how the results of the various PR studies can be interpreted and presented to them in a more usable, understandable fashion.