• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

New CRP: Technologies Enhancing the Competitiveness and Early Deployment of Small Modular Reactors (I31039)

New Coordinated Research Project

Computer-aided design tools are helping in the development of SMRs. (Photo: Cyril Zannettacci, Agence VU for EDF)

The IAEA is launching a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) to identify and enhance understanding of generic technologies that might be applied to more than one design of Small Modular Reactors (SMR) to facilitate their early deployment and support the transition to clean energy systems. The CRP, entitled “Technologies Enhancing the Competitiveness and Early Deployment of Small Modular Reactors”, will run for three years and examine how enabling technologies such as additive manufacturing or artificial intelligence (AI) could reduce SMR installation costs, shorten construction times and better meet user needs through greater flexibility or non-electric applications.

SMRs show significant potential for broadening the use of nuclear energy and meeting climate goals by helping to decarbonize the economies. However, SMR commercialization has yet to materialize. To accelerate SMR deployment and reduce upfront capital costs, there is a need to identify SMR technological solutions and advanced applications that are both promising and practical. International collaboration and interaction among stakeholders will be key to achieving this goal.

This CRP, launched on the basis of a 2019 IAEA Technical Meeting on the Competitiveness and Early Deployment of Small Modular Reactors and High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors, is the first devoted to generic technological solutions that could affect the competitiveness and early deployment of SMRs. While there are a number of interesting SMR designs, this CRP will focus on application to near-term deployable designs, in particular water-cooled reactors and high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs).

It will examine generic technologies of systems and/or components used in SMR designs that are not specific to one design. Additive manufacturing, compact steam generators, use of digital twins and AI at the design phase, and innovative solutions with regards to construction and erection phases are all technologies that could apply to different SMR designs and might not even be nuclear-specific. Innovation in these fields could lead to qualification and licensing issues, bringing more risk and delay to commercialization. On the other hand, technologies involving non-nuclear aspects of SMR designs (e.g. civil work) could hold great potential for reducing construction times or lowering costs.

Collaboration on these technologies at an international level may yield a positive outcome. It would incentivize stakeholders to allocate resources on the identified technological solutions, while also creating an opportunity to develop or adapt commonly applicable Codes and Standards for technologies not yet covered, thereby reducing costs and deployment times.

CRP Overall Objective

The overall objective of the CRP is to promote the development of technologies that could enhance the competitiveness of SMR solutions in the near term or facilitate their deployment through better compliance with user requirements.

Specific Research Objectives

  1. Identify and enhance understanding of technological solutions that have an impact on SMR competitiveness and are available and under consideration by developers and designers;
  2. Identify and enhance understanding of technological solutions affecting SMR uses and applications that are available and under consideration by developers and designers; and
  3. Identify and enhance understanding of gaps and opportunities in the global supply chain for technologies supporting the near-term deployment of SMRs.

How to join this CRP

Proposals for Research Contract or Agreement should be submitted by email no later than 30 September 2022 to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using CRP ID ‘I31039’ and the form template on the CRA web portal. A kick-off meeting for the project is planned for 8 – 10 May 2023 in Vienna.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants can contact the Project Officers using the contact form under the CRP page.

Stay in touch