Advanced Reactors Details

Advanced Reactor Activities

Non-LWR Vision and Strategy, Implementation Action Plans, and Overview of Activities

The staff has developed a vision and strategy to assure that the NRC is ready to review potential applications for non-light water reactor (non-LWR) technologies effectively and efficiently. The staff described the vision and strategy in "NRC Vision and Strategy: Safely Achieving Effective and Efficient Non-Light Water Reactor Mission Readiness," which was published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2016, for stakeholder input. The NRC updated its Vision and Strategy Document to reflect stakeholder feedback in December 2016.

To achieve the goals and objectives stated in the NRC's vision and strategy, the NRC has developed implementation action plans (IAPs). The IAPs identify the specific activities the NRC will conduct in the near-term (within 5 years), mid-term (5-10 years), and long-term (beyond 10 years) timeframes. The NRC released its draft IAPs to obtain stakeholder feedback during a series of public meetings held between October 2016 and March 2017. The staff also briefed the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) on March 8 and 9, 2017. The staff considered the ACRS comments and stakeholder feedback in the final Near-Term, Mid-Term and Long-Term IAPs which were issued on July 12, 2017.

The staff issued SECY-21-0010, "Advanced Reactor Program Status" on February 1, 2021. This paper provides the status of the NRC staff's activities related to advanced reactors, including the progress and path forward on each of the implementation action plan (IAP) strategies. It also provides an overview of the various external factors influencing the staff's activities to prepare for possible licensing and deployment of advanced reactors.

As required by Sections 103(b) and 103(c) of the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), the NRC prepared two reports to Congress regarding (1) expediting and establishing stages in the licensing process for commercial advanced nuclear reactors; and (2) increasing, where appropriate, the use of risk-informed and performance-based evaluation techniques and regulatory guidance in licensing commercial advanced nuclear reactors within the existing regulatory framework. These reports were sent to Congress on July 12, 2019.

Part 53 – Risk Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors

Consistent with Section 103 of NEIMA, staff has begun efforts to establish a "Risk Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors" for optional use by applicants for new commercial advanced nuclear reactor licenses by December 31, 2027. The staff presented its proposed plan for this rulemaking to the Commission for approval in SECY-20-0032 dated April 13, 2020. On October 2, 2020 the Commission approved the staff’s proposed approach in the SRM to SECY-20-0032 and directed the staff to publish the final rule by October 2024. On November 2, 2020, the staff provided a response to SRM-SECY-20-0032 outlining a schedule for preparing a rulemaking package that conforms to the Commission’s direction to achieve publication of the final rule by October 2024 and to inform the Commission of key uncertainties impacting publication of the final rule by that date.

Key documents related to the Part 53 rulemaking, including preliminary proposed rule language and stakeholder comments, can be found at Regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2019-0062.

Part 53 Preliminary Proposed Rule Development

To achieve the goals and objectives stated in the rulemaking plan and SRM, the staff plans to develop and intermittently release preliminary proposed rule language followed by public outreach and dialogue, including ACRS interactions, to ensure openness and transparency. The discussion tables provide the preliminary rule language and also contain a discussion of what the rule intends to accomplish for each section.

Part 53 Preliminary Proposed Rule Language

 

image of Stakeholder Engagement Plan

Key Public Meetings
Upcoming Public Meetings Date
Monthly public meetings on Part 53 are tentatively scheduled for the first Thursday of each month in 2021 1st Thursday of each month, 2021
Part 53 Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors Rulemaking – Subparts B and C, Subpart E April 8, 2021
Recent Public Meetings Date

Part 53 Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors Rulemaking – Subpart D

February 4, 2021

Part 53 Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors Rulemaking – Subparts C and F (Facility Safety Program only)

January 7, 2021

Part 53 Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors Rulemaking – Subpart B

November 18, 2020

Part 53 Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors Rulemaking – White Paper

September 22, 2020

Part 53 White Paper Presentation to ACRS Full Committee

September 10, 2020

Part 53 White Paper Presentation to Future Plant Designs ACRS Subcommittee

July 20, 2020
Preliminary Rule Development – Key Details

To top of page

Advanced Reactor - Summary of Integrated Schedule and Regulatory Activities

Summary of Integrated Schedule and Regulatory Activities (updated 04/14/2021)
Thumbnail image of Gantt Chart entitled Integrated Schedule of Regulatory Activities for Advanced Reactor consisting of an image of an excel spreadsheet with color-coded items

To top of page

Flexible Licensing Processes for Advanced Reactors

The NRC's review and licensing processes are flexible and allow interactions related to a wide variation in design development and deployment strategies. Based on interactions with stakeholders, the NRC determined that guidance would be beneficial to assist non-LWR developers in planning regulatory interactions. To address this need, the NRC developed guidance for its flexible regulatory review processes within the bounds of existing regulations, including the use of conceptual design reviews and staged-review processes in the document, "A Regulatory Review Roadmap for Non-Light Water Reactors." The "roadmap" is also intended to help designers prepare technology- or design-specific regulatory engagement plans. Regulatory engagement plans define desired outcomes from various interactions between the designer and the NRC, considering factors such as the resources available to the designer and the NRC and the coordination of regulatory issues with other aspects of the overall program for developing and deploying non-LWR designs. Regulatory engagement plans also define the timing and scope of regulatory interactions in order to align with stakeholders activities related to plant design, research and development, finance, public policy, and the fuel cycle. The NRC released a draft roadmap document in October of 2016 to support discussions with stakeholders during several public meetings. The staff incorporated stakeholder feedback, and guidance related to standard design approvals and prototype reactors into the final roadmap, which was issued on December 26, 2017.

To top of page

Industry-Led Licensing Modernization Project

The NRC engaged with the Licensing Modernization Project (LMP) led by Southern Company, coordinated by the NEI, and cost-shared by DOE. The interactions between the NRC staff and LMP resulted in the submittal of NEI–18–04, Revision 1, "Risk-Informed Performance-Based Guidance for Non‑Light Water Reactor Licensing Basis Development," on August 26, 2019. The guidance focuses on identifying licensing basis events; categorizing and establishing performance criteria for structures, systems, and components; and evaluating defense in depth for advanced reactor designs. The staff issued SECY-19-0117, "Technology-Inclusive, Risk-Informed, and Performance-Based Methodology to Inform the Licensing Basis and Content of Applications for Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Non-Light-Water Reactors," on December 2, 2019. In this notation vote paper, the staff discussed potential policy issues associated with the LMP methodology and recommended that the Commission find that the use of the methodology described in NEI 18-04 is a reasonable approach for establishing key parts of the licensing basis for non-LWRs. The Commission's Staff Requirements Memorandum dated May 26, 2020, found that using the methodology is a reasonable approach to support the licensing of non-light water reactors. The NRC published Regulatory Guide 1.233, "Guidance for a Technology-Inclusive, Risk-Informed, and Performance-Based Methodology to Inform the Licensing Basis and Content of Applications for Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Non-Light Water Reactors," in the Federal Register on June 9, 2020.

The following table provides reports related to LMP including demonstration and pilot activities.

Date Design
March 2020 Final Project Report
March 2020 LMP Lessons Learned, Best Practices, and Frequently Asked Questions
March 2020 Safety Classification and Performance Criteria for Structures, Systems, and Components
March 2020 Selection and Evaluation of Licensing Basis Events
March 2020 Probabilistic Risk Assessment Approach
September 2019 Fluoride-Cooled High Temperature Reactor Licensing Modernization Project Demonstration
September 2019 Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) Case Study Using Risk‐Informed, Performance‐Based Technical Guidance to Inform Future Licensing for Advanced Non‐Light Water Reactors
August 2019 Risk-Informed and Performance-Based Evaluation of Defense-in-Depth Adequacy
August 2019 Westinghouse eVinci Micro Reactor
Licensing Modernization Project Demonstration
December 2018 PRISM Sodium Fast Reactor
Licensing Modernization Project Demonstration
September 2018 OKLO's DG-1353 Pilot
August 2018 High Temperature, Gas-Cooled Pebble Bed Reactor
licensing Modernization Project Demonstration

To top of page

Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project

The purpose of the advanced reactor content of application project (ARCAP) is to develop technology-inclusive, risk-informed and performance-based application guidance. The ARCAP is broader and encompasses the industry-led technology-inclusive content of application project (TI-CAP). These projects build on the outcome of the Licensing Modernization Project.

The ARCAP guidance is intended to be used for an advanced reactor application for a combined license, construction permit, operating license, design certification, standard design approval, or manufacturing license. The industry-led TI-CAP's purpose is to develop the content for specific portions of the safety analysis report (SAR) that would be used to support an advanced reactor application. The TI-CAP portion of the SAR will be informed by the guidance found in in NEI 18-04, Revision 1, "Risk-Informed Performance-Based Technology-Inclusive Guidance for Non-Light Water Reactor Licensing Basis Development."

ARCAP is a longer-term effort that will support the 10 CFR Part 53 rulemaking effort. NRC staff has developed the "Non-Light Water Reactor Review Strategy Staff White Paper," dated September 2019, to provide internal guidance for the review of non-LWR applications in the near-term.

The following table provides reference to ARCAP and TI-CAP related activities.

Date Description
04/15/21 Draft Technology-Inclusive Content of Application Project (TICAP) Guidance Document
04/12/21 Industry Response to NRC Feedback on X-energy and Terrapower Versatile Test Reactor TICAP Tabletop Exercises
03/30/21 NRC Observation Team Feedback on March 5, 2021, TerraPower Versatile Test Reactor TICAP Tabletop Exercise
02/25/21 Power Reactor Construction Permit Guidance, and Advanced Reactor Topics Including: Applicability of Regulations, Technology Inclusive Content of Application Project, and Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project
12/14/20 Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) letters to industry encouraging early engagement from potential advanced reactor applicants to support their plans for the fabrication and transportation of advanced reactor fuels.
12/10/20 Technology Inclusive Contents of Application Project and Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project
10/22/20 Technology Inclusive Contents of Application Project, and Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project
08/27/20 Technology Inclusive Content of Application Project, Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project, and Construction Permit Guidance Meeting

07/31/20

Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project Meeting

07/30/20

Technology Inclusive Content of Application Project Meeting

06/12/20

Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project

06/11/20

Technology Inclusive Content of Application Project

04/22/20

Advanced Reactor Content of Application Project

01/21/20

NRC Staff Comments on Technology Inclusive Content of Application Project Definition of Fundamental Safety Functions for Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors – Draft Report Revision B

11/25/19

Technology Inclusive Content of Application Project for Non-Light Water Reactors Definition of Fundamental Safety Functions for Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors - Draft Report Revision B

To top of page

Endorsement Review of ASME B&PV Code Section III, Division 5, "High Temperature Reactors"

The NRC staff recognize that the absence of an NRC endorsed code of construction for nuclear reactors operating above 425°C (800°F) is a significant obstacle for new and advanced nuclear reactor designs. Review and approval of an elevated temperature code of construction during a licensing review of a new nuclear power plant would result in substantial costs and delays. In a letter dated June 21, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18184A065), ASME, based on letters from both industry consortia and individual companies interested in developing non-LWR designs, requested that the NRC review and endorse the 2017 Edition of ASME B&PV Code Section III, Division 5 (NRC Response Letter: ADAMS Accession No. ML18211A571). Therefore, the NRC has initiated efforts to endorse the ASME B&PV Code Section III, Division 5.

The NRC staff plans to endorse the 2017 Edition of ASME B&PV Code, Section III, Division 5, "High Temperature Reactors," via Regulatory Guide (RG) and plans to publish the draft RG for public comment by June 30, 2021.

In October 2018, the NRC sent the ASME BPVC Section III, Division 5 standard and the technical background documents to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and NUMARK Associates, Inc. for a peer review on the technical adequacy of Section III, Division 5. The following table will list the contractor reports that have been published and are available to the public.

Author Affiliation Topic Discussion Date Issued
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Technical Input for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Review of the 2017 Edition of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section III, Division 5, "High Temperature Reactors"

ASME Code Sections:

  • Materials (HBB; HCB; & HGB–2000)
  • Tables and Figures (Mandatory Appendix HBB–I)
  • Guidelines for Restricted Material Specifications (Non-Mandatory Appendix HBB–U)
August 2020
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Technical Input for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Review of the 2017 Edition of ASME Section III, Division 5, "High Temperature Reactors"

ASME Code Sections:

  • Design, Fabrication, Examination, Testing (HBB; HCB; HGB–3000, –4000, –5000, –6000)
  • Rules for Strain, Deformation, and Fatigue Limits (Mandatory Appendix HGB–I)
  • Rules for Construction of Core Support Structures Without Explicit Consideration of Creep and Stress-Rupture (Mandatory Appendix HGB–II)
  • Rules for Buckling and Instability (Mandatory Appendix HGB–III)
  • Rules for Time-Temperature Limits (Mandatory Appendix HGB–IV)
September 2020
NUMARK Associates, Inc.

Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus

Technical Input for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Review of the 2017 Edition of ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section III, Division 5, “High-Temperature Reactors” HBB-T, HBB-II, HCB-I, HCB-II, and HCB-III for Metallic Components

ASME Code Sections:

  • Rules for use of SA–533 Type B (Mandatory Appendix HBB–II)
  • Rules for Strain, Deformation, and Fatigue Limits (Nonmandatory Appendix HBB–T)
  • Rules for Stress Range Reduction Factors (Mandatory Appendix HCB–I)
  • Rules for Allowable Stress Values for Class B Components (Mandatory Appendix HCB–II)
  • Rules for Time-Temperature Limits (Mandatory Appendix HCB–III)
December 2020
NUMARK Associates, Inc.

Technical Input for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Review of the 2017 Edition of ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section III, Division 5, "High Temperature Reactors": Subsection HH, "Class A Nonmetallic Core Support Structures," Subpart A, "Graphite Materials"

ASME Code Sections:

  • Graphite and Composites (Technical Requirements)
December 2020
NUMARK Associates, Inc.

Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus

Technical Input for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Review of the 2017 Edition of ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section III, Division 5, "High-Temperature Reactors." Review of Code Case N-861 and N-862: Elastic-Perfect Plastic Methods for Satisfaction of Strain Limits and Creep-Fatigue Damage Evaluation in BPV-III-5 Rules

ASME Code Sections:

  • Code Case N–861
  • Code Case N–862
December 2020
Argonne National Laboratory

Historical Context and Perspective on Allowable Stresses and Design Parameters in ASME Section III, Division 5, Subsection HB, Subpart B (ANL/AMD-21/1)

The Argonne National Laboratory report references the following report developed by MPR Associates, Inc.

ASME Code Sections:

Provides the NRC with the technical basis and historical perspective on ASME BPVC Section III, Division 5 and the technical assistance to facilitate the staff’s efforts in drafting the RG and technical basis document

March 2021

February 2021

To top of page

Advanced Nuclear Reactor Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS)

The NRC is developing a GEIS for advanced nuclear reactors in order to streamline the environmental review process for future advanced nuclear reactor (ANR) environmental reviews. The purpose of an ANR GEIS is to determine which environmental impacts could result in essentially the same (generic) impact for different ANR designs that fit within the parameters set in the GEIS, and which environmental impacts would require a plant-specific analysis. Environmental reviews for advanced nuclear reactor license applications could incorporate the ANR GEIS by reference and provide site-specific information and analyses in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), thereby streamlining the environmental review process.

In SECY-20-0020, the staff informed the Commission that it planned to use a technology-neutral plant parameter envelope (or PPE) approach to bound small-scale ANR projects. For the purposes of the ANR GEIS, the staff stated that it considered a "small-scale" ANR as having the potential to generate up to approximately 30 megawatts thermal per reactor with a correspondingly small environmental footprint. The staff stated that the actual bounding thermal power level of the ANR and the environmental footprint used in the ANR GEIS were topics to be determined during the scoping process for the GEIS.

On April 30, 2020, the NRC issued a Federal Register notice informing the public of its intent to develop an advanced reactor GEIS and to conduct a scoping process to gather the information necessary to prepare the GEIS. Based on the comments received during scoping, the NRC decided to use a technology-neutral, performance-based approach with specified values and assumptions using a plant parameter envelope (PPE) that would largely decouple the analysis for most resources from reactor power level. The PPE will consist of bounding values or parameters, and assumptions, for specific reactor design features regardless of site. In addition, the staff decided to develop a set of site condition values and assumptions termed the site parameter envelope (SPE). The SPE also includes specific assumptions related to the condition of the affected environment, such as the extent and occurrence of wetlands and floodplains, position near aquatic features, and proximity to sensitive noise receptors. The GEIS will present generic analyses that evaluate the possible impacts of a reactor that fits within the bounds of the PPE on a site that fits within the bounds of the SPE.

A future application that references the ANR GEIS will need to demonstrate that its project is bounded by the analysis in the ANR GEIS and that there is no significant new information affecting the evaluation. If the project is bounded by the ANR GEIS and there is no significant new information, the NRC will incorporate by reference the ANR GEIS and no further analysis would be needed. The application will also need to analyze the site-specific resources not resolved generically in the ANR GEIS. If impacts to a resource have not been resolved generically by the ANR GEIS, the site-specific SEIS will evaluate the impacts to the resource.

In SRM-SECY-20-0020, the Commission directed the staff to initiate rulemaking to codify the ANR GEIS findings in the Code of Federal Regulations. The Commission also directed the staff to consider a PPE that is inclusive of as many ANR technologies as possible in establishing the scope of the ANR GEIS.

Below is the schedule for the GEIS and rule.

April 30, 2020 – Federal Register notice of intent to prepare GEIS and conduct scoping (85 FR 24040) published

June 30, 2020 – Scoping comment period ended

September 25, 2020 – Scoping Summary Report issued

May 2022 – Draft GEIS and rule issued for comment

January 2024 – Final GEIS and rule issued

To top of page

NRC-DOE Joint Initiative - Non-LWR Design Criteria

In July 2013, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the NRC established a joint initiative to address a key portion of the licensing framework essential to advanced reactor technologies. The initiative addresses the "General Design Criteria for Nuclear Power Plants," Appendix A to 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 50, which were developed primarily for LWRs, by adapting them to the needs of advanced reactor design and licensing. The initiative is being accomplished in two phases. Phase 1, completed by DOE, consisted of reviews, analyses and evaluations resulting in a report issued by the DOE in December 2014 titled, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Advanced (Non-Light Water) Reactors." Phase 2 of the initiative, managed by the NRC, involved review of the Phase 1 DOE work products issuance of regulatory guidance resulting from the review.

On April 7, 2016, the NRC issued the, "Draft - Advanced Non-LWR Design Criteria - April 2016," for informal public comment. The informal public comment period closed on June 8, 2016. After consideration of stakeholder input, the NRC issued draft regulatory guide DG-1330, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Non-Light Water Reactors" for formal public comment. DG-1330 was published in the Federal Register on February 3, 2017, for a 60 day public comment period. The public comment period closed on April 4, 2017. The NRC considered the public comments and held a public meeting for further discussion on August 24, 2017. The staff considered the public comments and stakeholder interactions in preparing the final RG 1.232. On April 3, 2018, the NRC issued the, "Final RG 1.232," along with the, "Public Comment Resolution Table." Final RG 1.232 was published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2018.

The issuance of this new NRC regulatory guidance is expected to provide the following benefits:

  • reduced regulatory uncertainty for advanced reactor developers,
  • improved guidance for NRC staff reviewing advanced reactor license applications, and
  • improved timeliness and efficiency of licensing activities for both applicants and NRC staff.

The following table lists the meetings that NRC has conducted with external stakeholders in connection with the initiative:

Date Description
08/24/17

Public Meeting on Non-LWR Design Criteria

10/11/16

Public Meeting on Non-LWR Design Criteria

02/25/15

Non-Public Seminar Modular HTGR Technology and Safety Design Approach

02/18/15

Non-Public Seminar Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) Technology and Safety Overview

01/21/15

Public Meeting to Discuss the DOE Report, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Advanced (Non-Light Water) Reactors."

The following table provides access to documents, and correspondence between the NRC and DOE in connection with the initiative:

Date Description
09/15/15 Response to NRC Staff Second Set of Questions on the U.S. DOE Report, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors"
08/17/15 Questions on the U.S. Department of Energy Report, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Advanced (Non-Light Water) Reactors."
07/15/15 Response to NRC Staff Questions on the U.S. Department of Energy Report, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Advanced (Non-Light Water) Reactors."
06/05/15 NRC Staff Questions on the U.S. Department of Energy Report, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Advanced (Non-Light Water) Reactors."
01/15/15 NRC Letter to DOE, "Initiative Regarding U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensing Strategy for Advanced Reactor Technologies."
12/08/14 DOE Letter to NRC, "Joint Initiative Regarding U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensing Strategy for Advanced (Non-Light Water) Reactor Technologies."
07/09/13 NRC Letter to DOE, "Initiative Regarding U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensing Strategy for Advanced Reactor Technologies."

Updates relative to the Phase 2 portion of the initiative are also available by subscribing to the NRC GovDelivery Subscription service.

To top of page

NRC-CNSC Memorandum of Cooperation

On August 15, 2019, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to increase collaboration on the technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technologies.

The memorandum represents a uniquely important step in both countries' strong commitment to a more effective, efficient, and timely analysis of next-generation technologies, and both agencies’ safety and security mission. The NRC and CNSC are building on the joint Memorandum of Understanding signed in August 2017, accelerating efforts to realize innovation in the review of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technology concepts.

The MOC underscores the readiness of the U.S. NRC and CNSC to increase collaboration and facilitate joint technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor designs to ensure safety and support each agency’s regulatory decisions

Under the terms of this MOC, the U.S. NRC may consider insights from CNSC pre-licensing vendor design reviews and licensing review processes. CNSC may also take U.S. NRC review results into account, should an applicant propose to construct and operate a reactor design currently under review or previously reviewed by the U.S. NRC.

Associated Links

To top of page

Advanced Reactor Training Materials

The NRC contracted with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop a 12-module training course on molten-salt reactors (MSRs). The course provides background on various MSR concepts presently under development, including a history of earlier MSR projects, descriptions of conceptual designs, and expected technical and regulatory challenges. The NRC also contracted with Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory to develop training courses for fast reactors and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors. The training materials for molten salt reactors, fast reactors, and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors are publicly available.

The NRC contracted with Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) to prepare a Regulatory History of Non-Light Water Reactors. This report describes the history of licensing non-LWRs with a focus on regulatory policy and licensing beginning with the Atomic Energy Commission and transitioning to the NRC's past and current activities. This background information is a valuable knowledge management tool for NRC staff and member of the public.

To top of page

Testing Needs and Prototype Plants

On June 16, 2017, the NRC issued a preliminary draft document, "Nuclear Power Reactor Testing Needs and Prototype Plants for Advanced Reactor Designs." This document described the relevant regulations governing the testing requirements for advanced reactors, described the process for determining testing needs to meet the NRC's regulatory requirements, clarified when a prototype plant might be needed and how it might differ from the proposed standard plant design, and described licensing strategies and options that include the use of a prototype plant to meet the NRC's testing requirements. The document was discussed during periodic public meetings on advanced reactor topics. The staff considered stakeholder feedback and issued the final paper as part of the regulatory review roadmap in December 2017.

To top of page

Advanced Reactor Workshops

In 2015, the NRC and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) began co-hosting a series of Advanced Reactor Workshops. The first workshop was held on September 1-2, 2015, 2015 and included presentations and discussions on roles and responsibilities of the NRC and DOE, previous experience licensing non-LWR designs, critical gaps and needs in research and development that need to be addressed, and suggestions for improvements in the licensing of non-LWR designs. The second workshop was held on June 7-8, 2016 and focused on exchanging information from NRC, DOE, industry and included presentations and discussions on strategies for advanced reactor development and deployment, recent initiatives; and advanced reactor fuel development, qualification, and challenges. The Third workshop in this series was held on April 25 and 26, 2017. The NRC has now transitioned from this workshop format to more frequent periodic stakeholder meetings to focus on specific topics of interest as discussed below.

To top of page

Advanced Reactor Reference Materials

The NRC staff has contracted with the DOE national laboratories and other entities to prepare these contractor reports on a variety of advanced reactor topics to inform the NRC's advanced reactor readiness activities. These documents are provided for information and should not be considered as official NRC regulatory guidance, unless otherwise endorsed or published as such.

Date Issued Topic Author Affiliation
01/29/21 Review of Operating Experience for Transportation of Fresh (Unirradiated) Advanced Reactor Fuel Types Center For Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses (CNWRA)
01/29/21 Potential Challenges with Transportation of Fresh (Unirradiated) Advanced Reactor Fuel Types CNWRA
01/29/21 Storage Experience with Spent (Irradiated) Advanced Reactor Fuel Types CNWRA
01/29/21 Potential Challenges with Storage of Spent (Irradiated) Advanced Reactor Fuel Types CNWRA
01/29/21 Transportation Experience and Potential Challenges with Transportation of Spent (Irradiated) Advanced Reactor Fuel Types CNWRA
01/29/21 Disposal Options and Potential Challenges to Waste Packages and Waste Forms in Disposal of Spent (Irradiated) Advanced Reactor Fuel Types CNWRA
01/29/21 Information Gaps and Potential Information Needs Associated with Transportation of Fresh (Unirradiated) Advanced Reactor Fuel Types CNWRA
09/30/21 Relevant Advanced Reactor Benchmarks for Nuclear Data Assessment ORNL
09/15/20 Fuel Qualification for Advanced Reactors (Draft) NRC staff draft white paper
09/30/20 Non-Light Water Reactor Fuel Cycle Environmental Data Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
09/30/20 Environmental Impacts from Transportation of Fuel and Wastes to and from Non-Light Water Reactors Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
07/31/20 Proposed Guidance for Preparing and Reviewing a Molten Salt Non-Power Reactor Application
  • NRC letter dated November 18, 2020, "Endorsement of Appendix A to Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report, 'Proposed Guidance for Preparing and Reviewing a Molten Salt Non-Power Reactor Application,' as Guidance for Preparing Applications for the Licensing of Non-Power Liquid Fueled Molten Salt Reactors," ADAMS Accession No. ML20251A008.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
07/01/20 Molten Salt Reactor Fuel Salt Qualification Methodology Oak Ridge National Laboratory
06/30/20 Key Nuclear Data Impacting Reactivity in Advanced Reactors Oak Ridge National Laboratory
06/30/20 Technology-Inclusive Determination of Mechanistic Source Terms for Offsite Dose-Related Assessments for Advanced Nuclear Reactor Facilities Idaho National Laboratory
06/30/20 Human Factors Considerations for Automating Microreactors Sandia National Laboratories
05/31/20 Technical Letter Report on The Assessment of Tritium Detection and Control in Molten Salt Reactors: Final Report Argonne National Laboratory
04/01/20 Technical and Licensing Considerations for Micro-Reactors Sandia National Laboratories
03/31/20 Model Materials Controls and Accounting Plan for Pebble Bed Reactors Oak Ridge National Laboratory
02/05/20 Regulatory Review of Micro-Reactors – Initial Considerations Brookhaven National Laboratory
01/30/20 Simplified Approach for Scoping Assessment of Non-LWR Source Terms Sandia National Laboratories
08/09/19 Hazards Associated with Molten Salt Reactor Fuel Processing Operations Presentation Oak Ridge National Laboratory
08/07/19 Metal Fuel Fabrication Safety and Hazards Presentation Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
06/30/19 Review of Hazards for Molten Salt Reactor Fuel Processing Operations Oak Ridge National Laboratory
06/28/19 Metal Fuel Fabrication Safety and Hazards Final Report Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
06/19/19 Advanced Reactor Siting Policy Considerations Oak Ridge National Laboratory
06/10/19 NRC Regulatory History of Non-Light Water Reactors (1950-2019) Brookhaven National Laboratory
03/31/19 Advanced Non-Light-Water Reactors Materials and Operational Experience NUMARK Associates
03/31/19 Technical Gap Assessment for Materials and Component Integrity Issues for Molten Salt Reactors Oak Ridge National Laboratory
11/30/18 Molten Salt Reactor Fuel Qualification Considerations and Challenges Oak Ridge National Laboratory
08/21/18 Phenomena Important in Liquid Metal Reactor Simulations Brookhaven National Laboratory
05/09/18 Phenomena Important in Modeling and Simulation of Molten Salt Reactors Brookhaven National Laboratory

To top of page

Non-LWR Analytical Code Development

In support of IAP Strategy 2, the staff prepared a three-volume report to describe computer code needs, current capabilities, and gaps relevant to non-LWR confirmatory and future (beyond initial licensing) safety analysis. The reports identify candidate computer codes, the decision criteria and technical rationale applied to the selection process, and specific development activities needed to address known gaps. On May 1, 2019 and September 17, 2019, the staff briefed the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) Future Plant Design Subcommittee on its plans for development of codes for non-LWR analysis. On October 3, 2019, the staff briefed the ACRS full committee on the role of computer codes in regulatory activities and needs for advanced reactor reviews and codes the staff intends to develop. On November 4, 2019, the ACRS transmitted a letter containing its conclusions, recommendations and constructive feedback on the staff's code development strategies. On January 30, 2020 the NRC published the final version of these reports taking into account ACRS and stakeholder feedback.

To top of page

Periodic Stakeholder Meetings

The NRC holds periodic stakeholder meetings to discuss non-LWR topics of interest. The following table lists the meetings that NRC has conducted to date in connection with this initiative:

Date Description
04/15/21
02/25/21
01/21/21
11/05/20
10/01/20
08/25/20
08/20/20
06/18/20
05/07/20
04/22/20
04/02/20
02/20/20
12/12/19
 
10/10/19
08/15/19
06/27/19
03/28/19
02/07/19
12/13/18
09/13/18
07/26/18
06/14/18
05/03/18
02/01/18
12/14/17
11/02/17
09/28/17
08/03/17
06/22/17
05/3-4/17
03/22/17
02/02/17
12/15/16
10/25/16
07/27/16

To top of page

Pre-Application Activities

Below is a summary of non-LWR reactor designers that have formally notified the NRC of their intent to engage in regulatory interactions. There are several more potential pre-applicants that participate in various industry activities that could be added to this list once they formally engage with the NRC. Advanced reactor developers interested in beginning preapplication engagement with the NRC staff or planning to submit applications should respond to RIS-20-02, "Review of New Licensing Applications for Light-Water Reactors and Non-Light Water Reactors," to inform the staff so we can plan our resources accordingly.

Who: General Atomics
What: Pre-application interaction to discuss issues related to the Energy Multiplier Module (EM2) (Docket Number 99902082)
When: more info
Lead PM:  Samuel.CuadradoDeJesus@nrc.gov
 
Who: X-Energy, LLC
What: Pre-application interaction to discuss issues related to the XE-100 design (Docket Number 99902071)
When: more info
Lead PM:  Lucieann.VechioliFeliciano@nrc.gov
 
Who: Terrestrial Energy USA Inc
What: Pre-application interaction to discuss issues related to the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) (Docket Number 99902076)
When: more info
Lead PM:  Adrian.MunizGonzalez@nrc.gov
 
Who: TerraPower, LLC and GE Hitachi
What: Pre-application interactions to discuss issues related to the Natrium Reactor
When: more info
Lead PM:  Mallecia.Sutton@nrc.gov
 
Who: Kairos Power LLC
What: Pre-application interaction to discuss issues related to the Kairos design (Docket Number 99902069)
When: more info
Lead PM:  Stewart.Magruder@nrc.gov
 
Who: TerraPower, LLC
What: There are no pre-application interactions currently scheduled for the Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR) design
When: more info
Lead PM:  Mallecia.Sutton@nrc.gov
 
Who: Westinghouse Electric Company
What: Pre-application interaction to discuss issues related to the eVinci micro reactor (Docket Number 99902079)
When: more info
Lead PM:  Donna.Williams@nrc.gov

To top of page

Related Documents

Over the years, a number of Commission papers and Commission Policy statements have been written on various topics related to licensing of advanced reactors. The staff has assembled a collection of these documents spanning from 2001 to the present. The staff has also assembled a list of stakeholder position papers identifying stakeholder documents that communicate opinions to the staff on technical or policy issues.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, April 19, 2021