CNSC approach to the review of reactor core thermalhydraulic design for new nuclear power plants

Abstract of the technical paper presented to:
11th International Conference on CANDU Fuel
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
October 17–20, 2010

Prepared by:
Yujun Guo, Naj Hammouda, Haldun Tezel and Michel Couture
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Canadian Nuclear Society, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Abstract

In recent years, several provinces in Canada have shown increasing interest in building new nuclear power plants to meet their energy needs. In particular, Ontario province has taken an action to invite vendors to a bidding process, and this action has attracted various reactor designs including ACR in Canada, AP-1000 in the US and EPR in France. In response to this move, the federal nuclear watchdog, The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), has taken a number of steps to ensure that the regulator is ready to respond to licensing requests from vendors with various nuclear power plant designs.

One of the preparatory activities is the development of regulatory document RD-337 whose purpose is to set out the expectations of the CNSC with respect to the design of new water-cooled nuclear power plants, aligning the principles set forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in NS-R-1, Safety of Nuclear Power Plants: Design, with Canada specific expectations. RD-337 was approved by the Commission and issued in November 2008.

Other preparatory activities, which are either completed or under development, include the document of Construction Licence Applications for Nuclear Power Plants: Guidelines (CLAGs) and the Staff Review Procedures (SRPs). CLAGs is a document that describes the scope of the CNSC staff review and the information that is required to be submitted in an application for a licence to construct a nuclear power plant. SRPs are being written for all phases of the licensing process, including the environmental assessment, the licence to prepare site and the licence to construct (SRPs for a licence to operate will be prepared in the future). These SRPs outline the principal technical criteria that will guide staff in determining the adequacy of the submissions. For the licence to construct, the SRPs include a number of review procedures covering all aspects of the nuclear power plant design.

This paper discusses the Review Procedure on Core Thermalhydraulic Design, which is part of the CNSC SRPs for a licence to construct, documenting the CNSC expectations with respect to the reactor core thermalhydraulic design. The contents of this paper consist of a definition of the topical areas of review, a concept of thermalhydraulic safety limits, a description of the review criteria, a list of the information and the data expected in the licensee's application and an outline of the review procedures. While practical, these contents are presented in a manner that is technology neutral for water-cooled reactor designs including PWRs and CANDUs. Separate discussions are provided for the areas that are design specific. The intent of this paper is to inform applicants of the newly established review processes at the CNSC and to state the CNSC expectations on future construction application submissions.

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