On September 19-21, 2022, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) International Regulatory Development Partnership (IRDP) supported a 3-day virtual event for Serbia on “Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Roadmap and Technology Assessment.” The event was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State under the Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program in collaboration with the NRC and other U.S. agencies. The FIRST program is supporting Serbia as they explore the introduction of nuclear power in their country. Serbian agencies participating included the Ministry of Mining and Energy, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Public Company – Nuclear Facilities of Serbia, Public Enterprise - Electric Power Industry of Serbia, the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate, the University of Belgrade, and the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences.
The three separate 3-hour webinars covered the fundamental considerations for preparing for nuclear power and SMR technology selection. The first day featured a presentation by the Serbian Ministry of Mining and Energy on the current status of energy planning and the potential role of nuclear energy. Other presentations by the U.S. participants focused on SMR options and applications and workforce development. The second day featured presentations from the U.S. participants on stakeholder engagement, nuclear energy as part of the clean energy mix, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) roadmap for SMR deployment. The final presentation on the second day was by Mr. Stewart Magruder of AdSTM, Inc., on establishing an independent regulatory authority. This presentation covered the fundamental requirements for nuclear regulation and referenced IAEA and NRC requirements. The third day began with another presentation from Mr. Magruder on regulatory issues associated with SMRs. This presentation focused on the differences between large light-water reactors and SMRs, how the NRC is addressing these differences, and insights from the NRC experience with reviewing SMR technology. Other presentations on the third day were on the reactor technology assessment process; setting national priorities, policy goals and technology objectives; and financing for SMRs. The webinar concluded with a discussion of the next steps in the FIRST program for Serbia. It was agreed that the priority topics for any future meetings would be stakeholder engagement, financing, and legal and regulatory frameworks.