IAEA Initiative Sets Ambitious Goals to Support the Safe and Secure Deployment of SMRs
The goal of the industry track is to develop more standardized industrial approaches for SMR manufacturing, construction and operations that can reduce licensing timelines, costs and, ultimately, the time to deploy SMRs. The SMR business model is often based on serial production, which means that after the deployment of the first-of-a-kind reactor, cost and time savings materialize under a standardized approach. The industry track focused on four objectives: harmonization of high-level user requirements, information sharing on national standards and codes, experiments and validation of simulation computer codes to model SMRs and accelerating the implementation of a nuclear infrastructure for SMRs.
“User requirements are based on the utilities’ needs and must be consistent with IAEA safety standards,” said Aline des Cloizeaux, Director of the Division of Nuclear Power at the IAEA and chair of the industry track. “There is a general agreement on the need for technology neutral utility requirements, as this will help standardize user specifications and help technology developers to align with the market.” She also stated the need to consider non-electrical applications and non-traditional end users when defining industry standards.
Codes and standards are requirements and rules for the design, construction and operation of structures, systems and components, and they are issued by national and global organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The challenge with harmonizing codes and standards is that each country may have different requirements. For codes and standards that apply to SMRs, equivalencies among existing requirements will be identified, and the NHSI will collect and share information through a platform that will expand to advanced manufacturing standards and customization for SMRs. Furthermore, the NHSI proposed resource sharing among experimental facilities, technology holders and technical support organizations (TSOs) to validate simulation computer codes to model SMRs, which are used to support the design and safety analysis that regulators review to grant licenses. TSOs provide expertise and services to support nuclear…