On July 14, 2021, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s International Regulatory Development Partnership (IRDP) conducted a virtual workshop on licensing Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) for regulatory authorities and other stakeholders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. This was part of a remote consultancy series sponsored by U.S. Department of State under the U.S. Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program. FIRST is a capacity-building program started by the U.S. Government in 2020 to support nuclear energy newcomer countries in their ability to make future nuclear energy decisions consistent with the highest nuclear security, safety, and nonproliferation standards.
The IRDP workshop was the third installment of a five-part seminar series designed to introduce SMR technology, uses, advantages and financial considerations to regional policymakers without a technical background. In addition, the series provided information related to nuclear security and licensing for SMRs and other peaceful uses of nuclear technology. There were more than 80 participants in attendance.
Experts from NRC’s contractor, Advanced Systems Technology and Management, Inc. (AdSTM), Dr. Charles Miller and Mr. Mark Tonacci presented on differences between SMRs and the current fleet of reactors, advantages and disadvantages, the U.S. licensing framework, including laws, regulations and guidance, and the process for issuance of a construction permit and operating license. Further discussions described the SMR technical safety review areas, staffing and support for the regulatory agency, and important considerations for an emerging regulator conducting its first nuclear power plant review. The presentation concluded with discussions of managing a regulatory review, SMR application review challenges, and lessons learned for the NRC.