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Licensing Challenges of Advanced Nuclear Reactors in Canada

Abstract of the technical paper/presentation presented at:
The 9th International Symposium on Super-Critical Water-cooled Reactors (ISSCWR-9)
March 10-14, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Prepared by:
R.P. Rulko
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


This presentation provides an overview of licensing challenges of the advanced nuclear reactors in Canada. We begin with introductory remarks on CNSC and its regulatory framework followed by a brief description of the new reactors’ licensing process in Canada. The flexibility of the CNSC’s approach is stressed. The five licensing steps are described. We then focus on Step 2 of the licensing process, the construction licence, and introduce the concept of the Vendor Design Review (VDR), its purpose, steps, and resulting products. In order to identify the challenges of the construction licence design review, we discuss the current VDR SMR design reviews and present examples of the licensing challenges identified during this voluntary pre-licensing process. This serves as foundation for discussing the means of addressing the challenges. A historical look across the reactor generations is followed by discussion of the overall Canadian approach founded on defence in depth, flexibility, and risk-informed grading of design requirements whose purpose is to assure safety by meeting the high level safety objectives. In conclusion, the Canadian new reactor licensing process proves itself to be well established, independent of reactor technology and size, and applicable to advanced nuclear reactors.

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