France’s Nuward SMR has had its safety options assessed simultaneously by three European authorities

This is a world first. With several European countries planning to deploy a Nuward SMR in the 2030s, three European authorities (France, Czech Republic and Finland) have jointly assessed the reactor’s safety options. The process is sufficiently promising for three other authorities to join this work.

At the end of September, the French Nuward SMR was the subject of a world first. Three nuclear safety authorities carried out a joint assessment of the reactor’s safety options. The work was presented by the French (ASN), Finnish (STUK) and Czech (SUJB) authorities at the IAEA’s 67th General Conference in Vienna from 25 to 29 September.

This work has helped to identify the key issues for future authorisation of the construction of a Nuward SMR in the three countries, both the divergences and the convergences between the regulatory frameworks of these countries. This assessment does not, however, replace a future authorisation review by one of the participating regulators. Renaud Crassous, Chairman of Nuward, believes that the process has been positive for the SMR because it has enabled the reactor designers to benefit from early feedback and to discuss the differences between the regulations.

No single design

He explains that “the regulators converged quite easily”. But, he adds, “There is also the underlying layer of all the national regulations on things that are not nuclear, like fire regulations or door sizes, which sounds simple enough when we talk about it, but is very difficult to change when we have a complete plant design at the end and we move to another country”. He says: “It’s not a part we’ve discussed in this process, but it will be of some importance”.

“We know that because of this underlying layer, it’s always illusory to have a single design,” he explains. However, he is delighted that “the different approaches to safety, the safety case and the approaches in the countries we have worked with have reassured us that many of the choices we have made have been validated”.

According to Luc Chanial, Secretary General of the ASN, this first examination phase was sufficiently successful to arouse the interest of other regulators. In the next stage, three other regulators are expected to join the process: the Polish National Atomic Energy Agency (Państwowa Agencja Atomistyki, PAA), the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSM) and the Dutch Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority (ANVS). ■

By Sfen with WNN

Copyright : @ASN