Nuclear Security for Next Generation Reactors

Ross Peel, Sukesh Aghara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Today’s operating nuclear power plant fleet is primarily composed of ageing Generation II reactors, these predominantly being in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, significant new build activity over the past two decades, primarily in Asia and in non-OECD countries more widely, is adding new Generation III and III+ reactors to a more globally distributed fleet. Previous construction, maintenance, and operational experience is now informing the development of the next generation of reactors, which are expected to be smaller and make use of novel technologies. To be operable in a free-market energy system, these novel nuclear power plants must be economically competitive with both large established nuclear power technologies and low-carbon energy generating options. Security accounts for a significant proportion of today’s nuclear power operating costs, including capital expenditures for expensive retrofits into existing plants. Consequently, to remain competitive, new approaches are needed to build security into the fabric of the plant during the design phase. The chapter introduces the evolutionary and innovative reactor designs (EID) under development. Detailed consideration of the many individual technologies is not feasible here; instead the chapter discusses some of the common elements relevant to many technologies, which can provide insights for the majority of EIDs, and considers the key areas that lead to changes in the security features of EIDs. It focuses on security-by-design approaches in the development of the next generation of nuclear reactors and addresses some safeguards-by-design elements where these link to security. It also covers the underlying frameworks of nuclear security and its suitability for EIDs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Nuclear Security
EditorsChristopher Hobbs, Sarah Tzinieris, Sukesh Aghara
PublisherOxford Univerity Press; Oxford
ISBN (Electronic)9780191943300
ISBN (Print)9780192847935
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jun 2023


  • small modular reactor
  • advanced reactor
  • security-by-design
  • cyber security
  • physical protection
  • nuclear safeguards
  • Generation IV
  • advanced nuclear controls
  • remote operations
  • defence-in-depth
  • evolutionary and innovative reactor designs (EID)


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