Over the past number of decades, nuclear energy has been developed as a proven, reliable and economical energy supply, capable of meeting demanding energy market requirements. Many countries around the world have developed nuclear power programs, and many currently consider entering into new nuclear power programs to build new power reactors in order to satisfy their increasing current and future electrical energy needs.
A nuclear power program is a major and long-term undertaking, requiring careful planning, preparation, and human resources for building an adequate nuclear infrastructure. Making a national decision to enter a new nuclear program requires full government support and understanding of the consequences and requirements.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) provides technical and financial assistance, expert knowledge, and regulatory documents that are important for countries facing the challenge of entering nuclear programs for the first time. The IAEA organizes technical courses and information exchange meetings for new countries during which experiences and lessons learned are provided and shared. Additionally, a number of documents have been issued by IAEA that describe the processes to be followed, the rules that need to be respected, and other fundamental information that local governments need to understand to properly conduct the process of making a decision.
The paper explains the decision making process for entering into a new nuclear power program and building the required infrastructure, as described by applicable IAEA documents, and also shows selected recent experience by countries that have, or are still going through this process.