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Licensing of safety critical software for nuclear reactors

An abstract of the technical paper presented at:
Task Force on Safety Critical Software Working Group Meeting
Garching, Germany
October 7–9, 2014

Prepared by:
Gilbert Chun
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


The international task force on safety critical software for nuclear reactors has worked since 1994 to reach a consensus on practical aspects of software licensing. After publishing its 2007 revision report, the task force continued to work on missing and emerging issues for licensing safety critical software. The CNSC joined this task force in 2013 and co-authored the 2014 revision report.

The most important results of this work were reaching a consensus and identifying common technical positions on key licensing issues raised by the design and operation of computer-based systems which implement safety functions in nuclear power plants. With detailed consideration given to each member country’s licensing approaches, the goal was for all task force members to accept the common positions, introduce them in their countries’ regulatory regimes, and achieve greater consistency in their practices.

The report can be used:

  • to coordinate technical viewpoints from regulators and safety experts on licensing practices, or in the design and revision of guidelines
  • as a reference in safety cases and demonstrations of software-based safety systems
  • as guidance for instrumentation and control manufacturers and major international suppliers

To obtain a copy of the full document, please contact us at or call 613-995-5894 or 1-800-668-5284 (in Canada). When contacting us, please provide the abstract title and date.

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