Moltex SMR Passes First Phase of Regulatory Review: Regulatory and Safety


May 26, 2021

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has completed the first phase of the Supplier Pre-Approval Design Review (VDR) for the 300 MWe Small Modular Stable Salt Reactor – Wasteburner (SSR-W 300) by Moltex Energy.

A Moltex reactor site being considered by the company (Image: Moltex)

“Overall, Moltex Energy has demonstrated an understanding of our regulatory requirements and expectations,” said the regulator. Further work will be needed in areas such as management systems, safety classification and design aspects of containment structures if Moltex Energy decides to conduct a Phase 2 review, he added.

VDR is an optional service provided to reactor suppliers by the CNSC to verify the acceptability of a proposed reactor design against Canadian regulatory requirements and expectations. The three-phase process does not certify a reactor design and is not part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant – CNSC licensing processes will require a more detailed design and dossier review security for a site-specific permit application. VDRs are produced at the request of the seller.

The Phase 1 review provides rapid and broad feedback to the supplier on their reactor design and processes on issues related to CNSC regulatory requirements and expectations. The regulator officially agreed to begin Moltex’s design review in November 2017, and the company over a 42-month period submitted 50 documents covering the 19 technical review focus areas. He also provided familiarization sessions, responses to requests for additional information and technical clarifications via mail, emails and meetings.

The CNSC stated that the issues it identified as requiring further follow-up should be addressed and will be followed up in future phases of the VDR.

Moltex Energy CEO for North America, Rory O’Sullivan, said completing the first phase of the VDR was a major achievement. “This demonstrates that our technology is progressing in the right direction and gives confidence to current and future customers in our design of advanced nuclear reactors,” he said.

The SSR-W is a molten salt reactor that uses nuclear waste as fuel. The company aims to deploy its first reactor at the Point Lepreau site in New Brunswick by the early 2030s.

The Moltex design is the fifth small modular reactor for which the CNSC has completed Phase 1 of the VDR.

Research and writing by World Nuclear News

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