Joint Programme on Nuclear Materials
Nuclear energy plays a key role in the transition towards a climate-neutral society. By emitting less CO2 per kWh produced than solar energy, it guarantees stable and continuous supply of large quantities of low-carbon affordable electricity. It is currently the second largest source of low-carbon electricity in the world and in Europe.
The full sustainability of nuclear energy will be ensured by deploying fourth generation (GenIV) nuclear fission systems. These can produce more fuel than they consume, which can be thus recycled in a circular economy. They also offer the option of high thermal efficiency and increased standards of passive safety, while reducing significantly the volume and radiotoxicity of nuclear waste.
Materials represent a key element for the safety, efficiency, economy, and sustainability of nuclear energy. In particular, the deployment of GenIV systems depends crucially on the availability of materials that can withstand the harsh conditions that are expected in these systems.
The Joint Programme on Nuclear Materials of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA-JPNM) coordinates R&D in Europe towards the development and qualification of innovative materials solutions, to increase the safety and the efficiency of nuclear reactors, by enabling the design of GenIV systems. The expertise on development and qualification of materials for extreme operating conditions is also important for other low-carbon energy technologies, thereby opening the way to cross-sectorial collaboration.
Coordinated by Lorenzo Malerba, CIEMAT (ES)