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Sustainable nuclear power

Nuclear power technology has evolved in three distinct generations. The first generation of prototype reactors was followed by second-generation power reactors that currently supply Europe with electricity.

Today, third-generation (Gen III) nuclear plants with enhanced safety and competitiveness are being built in France and Finland. Evolutionary Gen III + designs will become available in the near future. A fourth generation (Gen IV) of reactors is the subject of an intense R&D effort. These systems should be available for commercial use from 2025.

Gen IV reactors are truly innovative. They will combine extreme safety with competitive economics. The designs use passive safety features to ensure zero off-site impacts even in the worst accident scenarios.

Gen IV reactors will make much more efficient use of uranium resources. Some designs use closed fuel cycles to ‘burn’ waste within the reactor, thereby reducing final waste quantities and enhancing resistance to nuclear proliferation.

Basic research on Gen IV reactors is a global collaborative effort coordinated under the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). Euratom is an active member of GIF.

The evolution of nuclear power

A new generation

One Gen IV design concept is the very-high-temperature reactor. The Euratom RAPHAEL project is assessing the viability and performance of this design, which could be used in hydrogen production and other industrial applications as well as in electricity generation.


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