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Canadian Fire Protection Regulatory Requirements for Small Modular Reactors

Abstract of the technical paper presented at:
25th International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT 25) – 16th International Post Conference Seminar on Fire Safety in Nuclear Power Plants and Installations
October 27 to 30, 2019
Ottawa, Ontario

Prepared by:
A. Bounagui, J. Eduful, and H. Shalabi
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and advanced nuclear reactors have been the subject of significant discussion and study during the past decade. There has been growing international interest in the concept of SMRs as a possible way of introducing nuclear generating capacity in smaller and more affordable increments.

Designs of these SMRs claim that they are inherently safer and employ passive safety systems as compared with conventional reactors. Nonetheless, SMR designs may present unique fire protection challenges. This paper highlights that the National Building Code of Canada and the National Fire Code of Canada are not sufficient by themselves to achieve CNSC’s regulatory objectives for fire protection. In regulating SMRs, the CNSC applies the same criteria used to regulate traditional reactor facilities by employing a risk-informed approach. In addition, this paper provides information that supports the need for SMRs to comply with CSA N293 "Fire Protection for Nuclear Power Plants". With a graded approach, the application of requirements is to be commensurate with the risks and particular characteristics of the facility or activity.

In general, new nuclear facilities are required to be designed, constructed and operated in accordance with modern codes and standards. However, the performance-based approaches can be used to achieve the intended objectives of prescriptive requirements through good engineering practices.

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