Nuclear Energy Technology Roadmap  (2015)

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy  (2015 edition) identifies technology, financing, policy and public engagement milestones that need to be achieved to realize the technology’s full potential by 2050. The long-term goal is to cut global carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. Other goals include high-level waste repositories being in operation in leading nuclear nations by 2020 and in all nuclear nations by 2030; demonstrating the most promising next generation nuclear power system by 2030 with full commercialization by 2040; and, to demonstrate the ability to build standardized designs on time and to cost by 2020.[1]

Nuclear Energy Technology Roadmap  (2019)

In 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) jointly published the most recent version of the roadmap titled Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy. This roadmap identifies major barriers, opportunities, and measures for policy makers and industrial and financial partners to accelerate research, development, demonstration, and deployment efforts for nuclear energy technologies. This roadmap outlines a set of quantitative measures and qualitative actions that define one global pathway for nuclear power deployment to 2050. The document examines each of the challenges to greater nuclear deployment and determines what needs to be done by governments and other stakeholders to address them. It presents a vision of how the major expansion of nuclear energy envisaged by the BLUE Map scenario over the next four decades could be achieved as part of a strategy to significantly reduce energy-related CO2 emissions.[2]

Technology Roadmap for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems

While international in scope and not for the U.S., alone, the Technology Roadmap Update for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems is a key roadmap for the nuclear energy sector. The document was originally drafted in 2002, but the most recent update was published in January 2014. The original roadmap was issued by the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee and the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). The GIF was created in January 2000 by 9 countries and, as of 2014, it had 13 members. The GIF is a consortium of countries that hope to develop technologically advanced nuclear energy systems, both in a cost-effective and safe, environmentally-friendly way. GIF hopes to have these new, safe, economic nuclear power plants ready for use by 2030. The 2014 roadmap update confirmed the choice of six systems and focused on the most relevant developments that will define research and development (R&D) goals for the next decade. It suggested that the Gen IV technologies that are most likely to be deployed first are the lead-cooled fast reactor, sodium-cooled fast reactor, very-high temperature reactor, and supercritical-water-cooled reactor. The molten salt reactor and the gas-cooled fast reactor were shown as furthest from the demonstration phase.[3]

Nuclear Power Research and Development Roadmap, Report to Congress

The Department of Energy describes their approach to nuclear R&D as “long-term high-risk—high-payoff R&D.”[4] In the Nuclear Power Research and Development Roadmap, Report to Congress (April 2010), the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) lays out its roadmap of “research, development and demonstration activities that will ensure nuclear energy remains [a] viable energy option for the United States.”[5]

Updated November 2020 by Kristen Johnson