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Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Regulators' Forum

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are advanced reactors that produce electricity of up to 300 MW(e) per module, which is less than current power generation reactors. Many SMRs can be made in factories and transported by truck or rail.

The establishment of regulatory controls for this relatively new type of reactors requires focused and consistent attention. The SMR Regulators’ Forum, established in 2014, provides enabling discussions among Member States and other stakeholders to share SMR regulatory knowledge and experience.

The Forum enhances nuclear safety by identifying and resolving common safety issues that may challenge regulatory reviews associated with SMRs and by facilitating robust and thorough regulatory decisions.

The Forum's work is expected to result in:

  • Common position statements on regulatory issues;
  • Suggestions for revisions to or new IAEA documents;
  • Information to help regulators enhance regulatory frameworks;
  • Reports on regulatory challenges with discussion on paths forward; and
  • Suggestions for changes to international codes and standards.

The Forum was initially created as a pilot project that was conducted from March 2015 to May 2017. That project studied how emergency planning zones and the principles of graded approach and defence-in-depth should be applied to SMRs.

The pilot project resulted in several reports:

Upon successful completion of the Pilot Project Report, in November 2017 the Forum continued to a Phase 2 and developed new working groups in the areas of Licensing Issues, Design and Safety Analysis, and Manufacturing, Commissioning and Operations. Below are the specific topics covered by these working groups.

The Licensing Issues Working Group addresses issues related to regulatory approaches for licensing of SMRs, including key regulatory interventions and international regulatory cooperation.

The Design and Safety Analysis Working Group addresses issues related to the safety demonstration of SMR designs, including the consideration of fundamental safety functions and key design requirements, the integration of safety, security and safeguards and the safety analysis approaches for SMRs.

The Manufacturing, Commissioning, Construction and Operation Working Group addresses issues related to the manufacturing, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of SMRs, including the long-lead procurement and the organizational capability of stakeholders involved in the deployment of SMRs.  

The Reports from Phase 2 can be found below:

In 2021, the Forum initiated Phase 3 with the same three working groups used in Phase 2.  

The Reports from Phase 3 can be found below:

In August 2022, the Forum officially joined the IAEA Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative (NHSI) to lead the NHSI-RT-WG3: Process for leveraging other regulatory bodies’ reviews. The Forum’s Licensing Issues Working Group serves as the main organizational modality for the NHSI-RT-WG3, with its focus, membership and schedule adjusted accordingly.

In April 2023, the Forum’s Steering Committee selected new topics of work for Phase 4, which was initiated in 2024 and will last until the end of 2026.

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