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IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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12/07/2022

IRSN is participating in the preliminary examination of safety options for the French Nuward concept.

IRSN is currently participating in the preliminary review of the safety options for the NUWARD™ project by the French (ASN), Finnish (STUK) and Czech (SUJB) safety authorities with the support of their technical safety organizations (TSO) respective ones, including IRSN for France. 

​​The NUWARD™ project is a concept of electricity production unit, supported by EDF, consisting of two pressurized water nuclear reactors of 170 MWe each. From a safety point of view, this concept has characteristics common to other SMR concepts in development abroad, in particular its low power, its compactness and the implementation of passive safety provisions. For IRSN, SMRs m​ust meet safety requirements at least equivalent to those adopted for third generation reactors, their low power and the inherent safety characteristics put forward by their designers should benefit safety.

IRSN experts have been contributing for nearly ten years to thoughts on the safety requirements and approaches for these new concepts, in particular through their involvement in various international working groups of the IAEA and the SMR Regulators' Forum (1) .

IRSN also participates in several European projects which aim to acquire knowledge on these new concepts, both in support of the safety demonstration and in the validation of simulation tools, for pressurized water reactors but also for other types of reactors, for example high temperature reactors dedicated to cogeneration. 

The evaluation of the performance of passive safety systems being a central element of the safety demonstration of SMRs, a very good understanding of the physical ​phenomena that participate to their activation, their operation and those which can prevent them is necessary. IRSN is considering the development of a specific experimental research platform (PAssive Systems Thermalhydraulic Investigations for Safety) to support its expertise. This new experimental facility will provide knowledge in particular on the operation of a passive core cooling system as well as on the passive cooling of a metal containment immersed in a water pool. ​

For more information : our information memo on Small Modular Reactors​


​(1) The SMR Regulators' forum brings together the safety authorities of France, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland, Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, the Czech Republic and South Africa

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