Nuclear Power

15 Mar 2024

Transatlantic Collaboration on SMR Regulation Expanded

15 Mar 2024  by world-nuclear-news   
A trilateral memorandum of cooperation has been signed between the British, Canadian and US nuclear regulators to collaborate on technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technologies.

The signing ceremony (Image: CNSC)

The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was signed during the NRC's Annual Regulatory Information Conference in Maryland, USA, on 12 March. It was signed by CNSC acting CEO Ramzi Jammal, NRC Chair Christopher Hanson and ONR Chief Executive and Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy.

The partners said the MoC underscores their commitment to share best practices and regulatory experience as new technologies move toward standardisation that facilitates international deployment. The agreement is expected to aid development of shared approaches for reviewing common technical safety issues to meet each country's regulatory requirements. The agencies will also collaborate on pre-application activities, research, training, and emerging novel technical issues.

"Importantly, the trilateral agreement signals a partnering approach that will improve both regulatory effectiveness and efficiency, essential given the rapid growth in reactor technologies that are seeking regulatory consideration and approval," ONR's Foy said. "The agreement will ensure the efficient use of regulators' time and resources through a willingness to share technical knowledge and judgements, streamlining regulation while maintaining safety standards, acting as an exemplar of how regulators should work together in today's modern world."

"This agreement shows the great progress we've made with our international counterparts to ensure advanced reactor technology can be safely and efficiently deployed," added NRC Chair Hanson. "We've seen our work with CNSC on joint reports support significant licensing activities on several advanced designs over the past couple of years. We look forward to ONR's contributions as we all consider applications to build SMRs and advanced reactors."

CNSC's Jammal said: "The CNSC is pleased to sign our first trilateral MoC with longstanding partners, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation. This provides a framework for the three nuclear regulators to work together to optimise collective skills, experience and knowledge. The agreement will help us discover greater regulatory efficiencies, and strengthen the effectiveness of our reviews of advanced reactor technologies."

The agreement builds on the information-sharing aspects of several previous agreements, as well as recent bilateral memorandums of cooperation on small modular reactor (SMR) and advanced modular reactor (AMR) technology. International collaboration and initiatives to harmonise the regulatory process are seen as vital for the safe and successful deployment of new reactor designs such as SMRs.

The CNSC and NRC have been working together on this for several years, and in 2019 signed an MoC covering technical reviews of advanced reactor and SMR technologies.

In January 2023, Terms of Reference were signed and published between the CNSC and the ONR for an MoC between the two organisations on sharing best practice and experience around reviewing AMR and SMR technologies. The agreement also allowed for future working to facilitate a joint technical review of AMR and SMR technologies and to cover pre-application 


More News