Generation IV (Gen-IV) nuclear fission technology aims at the development of more sustainable nuclear power, including better utilization of uranium resources, minimization of radioactive waste, as well as improved economics and safety. In the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) from 2010, maintaining European competitiveness in fission technologies and the development of Gen-IV reactors is a priority for long-term, cost-effective and low CO2 energy production.
In 2009 a Nordic network for researchers, students and industry experts interested in Gen-IV nuclear power was established. Originally the focus was on material issues (NOMAGE4), but later the scope was widened to include all relevant areas. The main activity of the forum has been to organize seminars (typically two-day events), and to support researchers and research students making visits, in order to share knowledge as well as using unique experimental facilities. In addition to the seminars, also smaller meetings between the participating institutions have been held, where joint activities and grant applications have been discussed. Since 2011 also a webpage is in place (nordic-gen4.org).
The intention is to continue the above activities. For 2014 a seminar will be held in Lappeenranta, Finland, organized by VTT in cooperation with Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). To the seminar, also a few experts from outside the Nordic countries will be invited. Participation from JRC/NRG-Petten (The Netherlands) and CVR-Rez (Czech Republic), with which there is good connections, in the activities is foreseen. The information on the website will be maintained and extended. There is also an intention to spread balanced and neutral information about Gen-IV to the public. For example this could be achieved by writing debate articles in the media, as well as via the website.
There is rather extensive research going on covering different areas of Gen-IV related issues, such as new fuels, fuel cycles and structural materials. The funding support from governmental bodies tends to vary over time, and for the moment the activity is strongest in Finland and Sweden, but there is both interest and competence also in Norway and Denmark. A large part of the current research is funded by the EU. Although the existing Gen-IV competence in the Nordic countries is relatively strong, there is a risk that the unstable funding situation will result in fragmentation and loss of competence that might be of great importance in the future.