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Support for safety research of Small Modular Reactors


The research should propose the methodologies for performing safety evaluations and safety improvements fostering safety standards, including the experimental validation of essential items for safety demonstrations. Further, this action should bring tools for assessment of specific present and future SMR technologies and provide a set of their safety specifications and requirements in line with the EU directives. Focus should be also given to set up basic safety objectives for future SMRs licensing process. Research activities proposed under this topic should strictly avoid duplication with research activities already funded by the Euratom Research and Training Programmes.

At least 5% of the total action budget must be dedicated to Education and Training activities for PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and trainees supported through the action. (see Conditions for the Call- Eligibility and admissibility conditions).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the Euratom Programme up to EUR 4.0 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are considered as a reasonable option to cover future energy needs and applications like electricity generation, heat production, cogeneration, desalination. Their compact size and modularity could allow the possibility of partial or complete in-factory assembly and transport on-site. In addition, they might offer export potential and might be faster and easier to build and to operate under certain conditions. The smaller size of the reactor could lead to innovative safety features in terms of residual heat removal and size of containment structure. SMRs would be designed to cope with and minimize consequences of severe accidents. Compliance with the safety objective as established by Article 8a of the Nuclear Safety Directive may significantly vary depending on the safety options of the proposed design and the targeted application(s) and thus it needs to be further investigated. The focus should be given to support SMRs licensing process.

This action will allow the EU to establish a baseline for safety assessments and verification of existing and future SMR concepts during the following years. The safety demonstration could also provide support tools for SMR licensing process and to maintain highest standards in the EU's proposed concepts and designs. Therefore, it can pave the way for robust science-based recommendations to decision-makers regarding SMR safety in the EU. Moreover, it will reinforce EU’s commercial prospects and competitiveness in this field.