Regulatory evaluation of the research and development activities in support of nuclear safety

Abstract of the technical paper presented at:
PHWR Safety 2014 / CANSAS-2014
Ottawa, Ontario
June 23–26, 2014

Prepared by: A. Viktorov
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Measuring the overall health of R&D programs is crucial for understanding whether the research objectives are, or indeed could be, achieved. However, one also needs to recognize that the research has more than one role. This work discusses fundamental functions of research activities in the domain of nuclear safety, in particular, from the regulatory perspective, and then outlines an approach for performing a systematic evaluation of the R&D programs. Diverse facets of the R&D cycle, such as strategy, planning, capability maintenance, and specific outcomes are identified and possible aims in assessing each of those are discussed.

The understanding of the functions of R&D and of how to fulfill them better is especially timely for the Canadian nuclear industry, due to two factors:

  • shrinking base from which the industry can finance nuclear R&D, with the recent shutdown of Gentilly-2 plant and the coming closure of Pickering A and B stations totaling 8 reactors
  • reorganization of AECL as the national nuclear research laboratory with a different model of operation and different roles to be played by stakeholders.

The key objective of the paper is not to lay out a ready recipe for a formal R&D program evaluation, but rather to stimulate discussion on the appropriate effort to assess the effectiveness of such a program in accomplishing its functions.

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