UK and Canadian regulators collaborate on advanced reactors

24 January 2023

The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to share best practice and experience with respect to advanced modular reactor (AMR) and small modular reactor (SMR) technologies. It is based on an Information Exchange Arrangement signed in October 2020. The terms of reference of the MOC allow for future work to facilitate a joint technical review of AMR and SMR technologies. This will cover pre-application activities to ensure mutual preparedness for effective review. A programme of work will be drawn up to accomplish specific cooperative activities under the memorandum.

ONR and CNSC will collaborate on activities relating to water-cooled and non-water-cooled reactors to develop a shared technical review approach. This will cover pre-licensing activities such as design assessment, and discussions about research and training. The regulators will aim to develop regulatory approaches to address unique and novel technical considerations for ensuring the safety of AMRs and SMRs.

Rachel Curtis, one of the ONR nuclear safety inspectors leading the collaboration, says the agreement should enhance the depth and breadth of understanding within both organisations, and provide joint opportunities for learning. “This agreement ultimately brings about a more efficient use of regulators’ resources by leveraging shared technical knowledge and sees a mutually beneficial convergence in regulatory standards between the UK and Canada on this vital topic,” she notes.

Image: Donald Urquhart, ONR’s Deputy Chief Nuclear Inspector & Executive Director of Regulation signing the  Memorandum of Cooperation (courtesy of ONR)

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