Joint Programme on Nuclear Materials
The goal of sustainability is common to all low-carbon energy sources. Sustainable nuclear energy systems, also denoted as Generation IV reactors, along with the necessary fuel cycle facilities, can be built. These systems allow the nuclear fuel cycle to be closed and the energy output from available resources to be substantially increased, while improving the management of high level radioactive waste through transmutation processes. These systems are therefore potentially able to provide energy for many centuries to come. However, the operating conditions envisaged for these systems are demanding and will impact on the performance of structural and fuel materials: the safety and the feasibility of most of these nuclear system concepts and their optimization will depend crucially on the capability of the chosen materials to withstand the expected operating conditions.