Small and Medium Sized Reactors (SMRs) Development, Assessment and Deployment

The IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy devotes a number of its initiatives to support the development and deployment of small and medium-sized reactors (SMRs), recognizing their potential as options for enhancing the energy supply security both in expanding and embarking countries. The IAEA has seen significant increase in the participation of Member States in its programme for technology development of SMRs. The trend in SMR development has been towards design certification of small modular reactors, defined as advanced reactors that produce electric power up to 300 MW(e), designed to be built in factories and shipped to utilities for installation as demand arises. The driving forces in the development of such reactors are: meeting the need for flexible power generation for wider range of users and applications; replacing the ageing fossil fuel-fired power plants; enhancing safety performance through inherent and passive safety features; offering better upfront capital cost affordability; suitability for cogeneration and non-electric applications; options for remote regions with less developed infrastructures; and offering possibilities for synergetic hybrid energy systems that combine nuclear and alternate energy sources, including renewables.

SMR
New booklet: Advances in SMR
Technology Development

The factory-built small modular reactors aim to reduce lengthy construction times while simultaneously increasing quality, thereby minimizing the costs associated with the current time for construction that span 5 to 8 years. SMR designs include water-cooled reactors, high temperature gas cooled reactors, as well as liquid metal cooled reactors with fast neutron spectrum. Some of SMRs are to be deployed as multiple-module power plants. Several countries are also pioneering in the development and application of transportable nuclear power plants, including floating and seabed-based SMRs. The distinct concepts of operations, staffing and security requirements, size of emergency planning zones (EPZs), licensing process, legal and regulatory framework are the main issues for the SMRs deployment. The projected timelines of readiness for deployment of SMRs generally range from the present to 2025 – 2030. Currently there are more than 45 SMR designs under development for various purposes and applications. In 2014, four reactors in the SMR category are under construction: CAREM-25, an industrial prototype in Argentina, KLT-40S and RITM-200, floating SMRs in Russian Federation, and HTR-PM, an industrial demonstration plant in China. To learn more about the status and near term prospects of SMRs, please download the newly published booklet on 'Advances in SMR Technology Development 2014'.

The IAEA is coordinating the efforts of its Member States to facilitate the development of SMRs of various types by taking a systematic approach to the identification and development of key enabling technologies to achieve competitiveness and reliable performance of such reactors, and by addressing common infrastructure issues that could facilitate their deployment. To satisfy expectations and needs of the Member States the IAEA continues the regular budget project 1.1.5.2 (1000153) ‘Near Term and SMR Technology Developments’.

The IAEA General Conference resolution GC(57)/RES/12/Tab B.2 of September 2013 encourages the Secretariat to:

  • continue taking appropriate measures to assist Member States, particularly embarking countries, engaged in the process of preparatory actions with regard to demonstration projects, and encouraging the development of safe, secure, economically viable SMRs with enhanced proliferation resistance;

  • continue to promote effective international exchange of information on options as regards SMRs available internationally for deployment and on topics such as roadmaps for technology development, requirements for countries embarking on new nuclear power programmes, regulatory infrastructure, operational performance, maintainability, safety and security, waste management, constructability, economics, proliferation resistance and the state of development of innovative SMRs, by organizing technical meetings and workshops, as appropriate, and to produce relevant status and technical reports

  • continue working on defining indicators of safety performance, operability, maintainability and constructability so as to assist countries in assessing advanced SMR technologies, and developing guidance for SMR technology implementation, and looks forward to upcoming reports on enhancing energy supply security and approaches to environmental impact assessment;

  • foster collaboration among interested Member States with the objective of facilitating the licensing of SMRs and assist capacity building in embarking countries as regards SMR technology assessment;

  • continue the activities of the Regular Budget project ‘Common Technologies and Issues for SMRs’ on both the development of key enabling technologies and the resolution of key infrastructure issues for innovative SMRs of various types, which is complementary to INPRO.

Outline of the IAEA Webpage for SMR Technology Developments:


Meetings

2014

Date Meeting Location
18-20 Feb Consultants Meeting for Establishing Regulator Forum for Small and Medium-sized Reactors IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
22-24 April The 1st Consultants Meeting on Roadmap for the Development of Small Modular Reactor Technology Corvallis, Oregon,USA
5-9 May The 2nd Consultants Meeting on Instrumentation and Control Systems for Advanced Small Modular Reactors IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
12-16 May Technical Meeting on Operating Fundamentals of PWR-type Small and Medium-sized Reactors (SMRs) Islamabad, Pakistan
2-5 June Interregional Workshop on Design, Technology and Deployment Considerations for Small and Medium-sized Reactors – conducted in cooperation with and funded by the Department of Technical Cooperation, Division of Latin America IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
2-4 Sept Consultants Meeting for Finalizing Nuclear Energy Series Report: Environmental Impact Assessment for Small Modular Reactors Deployment IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
15-18 Dec Consultants Meeting on Infrastructure required for Small Modular Reactor Deployments IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
2013

Date Meeting Location
21-24 May Technical Meeting on Instrumentations and Control for Advanced SMRs IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
2-4 Sep Technical Meeting on SMRs Technology Development for Near-Term Deployment Chengdu, China
28-31 Oct Environmental Impact Assessment for SMRs Deployment in Newcomer Courtiers IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
12-14 Nov Constants' Meeting on Instrumentation and Control for Advanced SMRs IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
2012

Date Meeting Location
5-7 Mar Consultants' Meeting on Development of the draft NE Series Report on Options to Enhance Energy Supply Security using Energy Systems based on SMRs IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
11-13 Apr Consultants' Meeting on Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment on SMRs for Newcomer Countries IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
24-26 Apr The 4th Research Coordination Meeting of the CRP I31018 on Development of Advanced Methodologies for the Assessment of Passive Safety System Performance in Advanced Reactors IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
30 May - 1 Jun Consultants' Meeting on Incorporating Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Accident in SMR Technology Assessment for Design of Engineered Safety Systems IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
11-13 Sep Consultants' Meeting on Preparation of Toolkit for SMR Technology Assessment on the Reliability of Engineered Safety Features IAEA, Vienna,
Austria
9-11 Oct Consultants' Meeting on Developing a Preliminary Draft NE Series Report: Environmental Impact Assessment for SMR Deployment in Newcomer Countries IAEA, Vienna,
Austria


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