CNSC approach to the design review of nuclear fuel systems for new nuclear power plants

An abstract of the technical paper:
IAEA Technical Meeting on Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor Fuel Design
Fabrication & Performance
Buenos Aires, Argentina
November 9–12, 2009

Prepared by:
Ho-Chun Suk and Michel Couture
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Abstract

In Canada, over the past two years there has been renewed interest in the nuclear energy option and, in particular, in Ontario where the province has been conducting a bidding process to choose a vendor. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is undertaking a number of preparatory activities to ensure that it is ready to licence whichever technology is submitted by an applicant.

These preparatory activities have included 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 (NPPs). RD-337 represents the CNSC's adoption of the principles set forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in NS-R-1, Safety of Nuclear Power Plants: Design, and the adaptation of those principles to align with Canadian expectations. RD-337 was approved by the Commission and issued in November 2008.

Other documents which are either completed or under development include the document Construction Licence Applications for Nuclear Power Plants: Guidelines (hereafter called CLAGs), and Staff Review Guides (SRGs). 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. SRGs are being written for all phases of the licensing process, including the environmental assessment, the licence to prepare site, and the licence to construct (SRGs for a licence to operate will be prepared in the future). The SRGs outline the principal technical criteria that will guide staff in determining the adequacy of the submissions. For the licence to construct, there are SRGs that address all aspects of the nuclear power plant design.

The focus of this paper is on the CNSC approach to the design review of nuclear fuel systems for new nuclear power plants, and will be limited to the thermal, mechanical and material design of the fuel system. Although to the extent practicable, the documents RD-337, CLAGs and the SRG for fuel system designs is technology-neutral with respect to water-cooled reactors, this paper is focused on the review of the design of CANDU fuel bundles. Clauses of RD-337 which are relevant to CANDU fuel designs will be listed. Also discussed in this paper are the objectives of the review, the review criteria and the information and data expected in the licensee's application.

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