From May 22-26, 2023, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (USNRC’s) International Regulatory Development Partnership (IRDP) conducted a workshop on “Research and Test Reactor Licensing” in Santiago, Chile. The workshop was hosted by the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CCHEN). The audience included staff and management from CCHEN as well as staff from the RECH-1 reactor which has been in operation since 1974. This workshop was a follow-up to a virtual workshop held with CCHEN in 2022 focused on research reactor aging management.
IRDP instructors, Mr. Al Adams, Mr. Rich Holm, Dr. Steve Reese, and Mr. Adams Tong, provided an overview of the USNRC’s approach to licensing a typical Research and Test Reactor (RTR). In addition, participants were provided with information on the use of digital components in RTRs.
Throughout the week, the participants focused their attention on NUREG-1537, Guidance for Preparing and Reviewing Applications for the Licensing of Non-Power Reactors. Emphasis was placed upon Chapter 4, Nuclear Design, Chapter 7, Instrumentation and Control, and 13, Accident Analysis. As a way of incorporating concepts learned during the week, participants were afforded an opportunity to tour the RECH-1 reactor and observe a reactor startup. Strategies for the replacement of aging nuclear instruments with modern alternatives containing digital components was also discussed at length.
The participants were highly engaged throughout the week and continued to enthusiastically contribute to the discussion with questions relevant to their job responsibilities and country-specific regulatory processes. Overall, the IRDP team and participants found the workshop to be extremely informative and the discussions to be valuable and insightful.