EDF has announced that its Small Modular Reactor NUWARD will be the case study for a European early joint regulatory review led by the French Safety Authority (ASN) with the participation of the Czech (SUJB) and Finnish (STUK) safety authorities. EDF said that, by this action, it was fostering European cooperation and supporting the acceleration of international SMR licensing, creating momentum towards harmonisation of SMR regulations.
“This review will be based on the current set of national regulations from each country, the highest international safety objectives and reference levels, and up-to-date knowledge and relevant good practice,” EDF noted. “Through technical discussions, this collaboration will help ASN, STUK and SUJB increase their respective knowledge of each other’s regulatory practices at the European level and improve NUWARD’s ability to anticipate the challenges of international licensing and meet future market needs.”
SMR technology is being considered with great interest by many countries, as part of their energy transition towards carbon neutrality. EDF said SMR implementation and competitiveness in the energy market requires not only the development of some key technology innovations, but also a serial production process and a clear regulatory framework. Harmonisation of regulations and requirements in Europe and beyond is thus an essential element to support aspirations of standardisation of design, in-factory series production and limited design adaptations to country-specific requirements.
EDF also contributes to various initiatives at European and international levels, in particular the European SMR Partnership led by Foratom together with the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP) and the Nuclear Harmonisation and Standardisation Initiative (NHSI) recently launched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Xavier Ursat, EDF Group Senior Executive Director in charge of Engineering and New Nuclear Projects confirmed “EDF’s commitment to bringing its contribution to accelerate SMR deployment worldwide and play an essential part in achieving the net-zero target by 2050”.
EDF added that, along with its partners, it is fully committed to making NUWARD a leading and competitive product on the export market and are willing to establish international partnerships to support this goal. NUWARD is currently in the conceptual design phase, which focuses on choosing the major technical features while delivering real competitive advantages. This technology seeks to replace high CO2-emitting coal, fuel, oil and gas plants around the world and support other usages such as hydrogen production, urban and district heating or desalination. “Led by EDF, it relies on skilful and valuable contributions from the CEA, Naval Group, TechnicAtome, Framatome and Tractebel,” the statement said.