The French SMR Nuward will be assessed by three European safety authorities

On June 2nd, EDF announced that the French SMR Nuward will be subject to a pre-assessment by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), in collaboration with the Czech (SUJB) and Finnish (STUK) safety authorities.

The economic competitiveness of small modular reactors (SMRs) is based on series construction, which requires a high level of standardization. It is therefore essential that safety authorities clarify and harmonize their expectations. To this end, the French Nuward SMR project will be pre-assessed by the French, Czech, and Finnish safety authorities. As a reminder, Nuward is a 340 MW nuclear power plant with two 170 MW reactors located on the same nuclear island.

This review will take into account all current national regulations in each country, the highest safety objectives, and international standards, as well as the latest knowledge and best practices in the field,” said EDF in its press release of 2 June 2022. The technical discussions within the framework of this collaboration will allow the authorities involved, ASN, STUK, and SUJB, to increase their respective knowledge of the regulatory practices of each country at the European level and to improve Nuward’s ability to anticipate the challenges of international certification processes and the needs of the future market.

The multiplication of initiatives

EDF also recalled its contribution to various initiatives, both at the European level (EU SMR Partnership) and worldwide, with the Nuclear Harmonisation and Standardisation Initiative (NHSI), recently launched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Also noteworthy is the announcement in December 2021 of the creation of an International Advisory Board (INAB) “to provide value-added input, critical analysis, and advice concerning technical specifications, industrial approach, and economic management”. Its work will also address “market expectations, potential applications, associated business models, plant economics, industrial strategy, technical functions, licensing, regulatory approaches and public acceptance”. INAB members include experts from the UK, Canadian, Finnish, and Czech nuclear industries. ■

Published on 8th June 2022

By Gaïc Le Gros (Sfen)

The design concept of the Nuward SMR (Image: TechnicAtome)