NFRP-4 - Research on the safety of small modular reactors
This action should investigate safety features of SMRs, notably passive ones, and provide a set of essential technical specifications, against which compliance of SMRs with the amended Euratom Safety Directive could be tested. The research should also propose the methodology for the performing of these tests, including the experimental validation of essential items of the proposed models of safety demonstration as well as their effects on the SMR licensing process under various typical fields of application. To increase the effectiveness of the initiative, particular attention should be devoted to feasibly deployable SMR concepts. Due account should also be taken of decommissioning and spent fuel management of SMRs in the above safety demonstration. In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from Euratom of between EUR 2 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Proposals for topics NFRP 1 to 5 will be ranked in a single ranking list.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are considered as an interesting option for certain applications (e.g. small remote electricity network or cogeneration), offer interesting perspectives in terms of export potential and are in principle easier to build and to operate under certain site conditions. The smaller size of the reactor also offers interesting safety features, notably in terms of residual heat removal, but these features may differ significantly from those of large power reactors and need to be further investigated.
This action will allow the EU to establish standards for compliance of SMR to the requirements of the revised Euratom Safety Directive. It will pave the way for robust science-based recommendations to decision makers in this area at EU level. In the longer term, it will also improve the flexibility of nuclear power generation regarding power output and adaptation to local grid and siting conditions, while taking into account the highest safety standards. Ultimately, it will reinforce EU’s commercial prospects and competitiveness in this field.