Romanian regulator approves licensing document for NuScale SMR

3 October 2023

Romanian nuclear utility SN Nuclearelectrica (SNN) and US-based NuScale Power have welcomed approval by the National Commission for the Control of Nuclear Activities (CNCAN - Comisia Na?ionala pentru Controlul Activita?ilor Nucleare) of the Licensing Basis Document (LBD) for NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR). The LBD relates to NuScale’s VOYGR design – a 462 MWe NPP equipped with six 77 MWe SMRs.

Following a complex evaluation, CNCAN issued an official letter of approval certifying compliance of the Basic Authorisation Document (BAD) with the national regulatory requirements. Approval of the BAD represents a key stage of the SMR project. This will facilitate implementation of the authorisation process for all stages of development of the NuScale VOYGR plant in Romania.

The BAD sets out the authorisation requirements for the six-module plant design, regulatory documents, applicable codes and standards (both national and international), as well as design features that ensure compliance with nuclear safety requirements and criteria. It also maps the reference design authorisation in the Design Certificate issued by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for NuScale's standard plant design (SPD) and the Romanian nuclear security regulations, issued by CNCAN, in order to establish the authorisation framework for all stages of project development.

NuScale received NRC approval for its 50 MWe SPD design in 2020 and design certification in 2023, making it the first and only SMR to achieve either milestone. The uprated VOYGR design was accepted for NRC review in August. The review is expected to take 24 months, which NuScale says will align with the timing needs of its US customers.

NuScale and RoPower, a project development company established and jointly owned by SNN and Nova Power & Gas (part of the E-Infra group), are currently conducting a Phase 1 Front-End Engineering & Design (FEED) study to analyse the preferred site for possible deployment of a VOYGR SMR at a former coal plant in Doicesti, Dambovita County. The BAD approved by CNCAN allows transition to the next stages of the project, preparing the way for the second phase of FEED study. The BAD also provides an authorisation plan for completion of the critical stages of the project – siting, construction, commissioning and operation.

During the course of the FEED study, the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are taken into account following an IAEA Site & External Events Design (SEED) mission, carried out in August 2022, at the request of Nuclearelectrica.

"The approval of the Basic Authorisation Document by CNCAN, following a complex and thorough evaluation process specific to a regulatory body in the nuclear field, reveals NuScale's strong commitment and high level of responsibility towards complying with the regulations and the project schedule,” said SNN Director General Cosmin Ghi?a. “For us at Nuclearelectrica, it is further, independent confirmation of a solid, safe and reliable SMR technology and an additional motivation to continue implementation of an SMR technology project that will reshape the role of nuclear power in the economy.”

John Hopkins, President & CEO of NuScale said: "This is an important step forward in our journey to bring our clean and reliable technology to Romania to help power the country. Being the first and only SMR technology to be approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, we are proud to receive another top nuclear safety approval of our project from the National Commission for the Control of Nuclear Activities in Romania."

Image: Artist’s rendering of NuScale’s SMR power plant (courtesy of NuScale)

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