The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has completed the first phase of a vendor design review of ARC Nuclear Canada’s ARC-100 small modular reactor. The design is the third advanced reactor to complete the first phase of the CNSC’s regulatory pre-licensing review.
The ARC-100 design creates a “walk away” passive safety system that insures the reactor will never meltdown even in a disaster that causes a complete loss of power to the plant site. In addition, it can be fueled with the nuclear waste produced by traditional reactors, and its 20-year refueling cycle offers new levels of proliferation resistance. It provides a new model for nuclear power that is based on factory fabrication of modular components that can be shipped for rapid site assembly, thereby promoting the prompt start of a revenue stream.
* The use of sodium instead of water as the heat transfer agent in the reactor allows the reactor to operate at ambient pressure. Its containment vessel is a double-walled stainless steel tank rather than a 12 inch thick forged steel containment vessel required for traditional light water reactors
* Small enough that its modularized components can be shipped and installed at the site using regular commercial equipment, such as barges, rail, trucks, and construction cranes.
The CNSC’s pre-licensing vendor design review is an optional service to provide an assessment of a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor’s reactor technology. It is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant, but aims to verify the acceptability of a design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations.
The review involves three phases: a pre-licensing assessment of compliance with regulatory requirements; an assessment of any potential fundamental barriers to licensing; and a follow-up phase allowing the vendor to respond to findings from the second phase. These findings will be taken into account in any subsequent construction licence application, increasing the efficiency of technical reviews. The duration of each review is estimated based on the vendor’s proposed schedule. A Phase 1 review typically takes 12–18 months and a Phase 2 review takes 24 months.
ARC is developing the ARC-100, a 100 MWe integrated sodium-cooled fast reactor with a metallic uranium alloy core. The company in March 2017 signed an agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to collaborate on development and licensing, and uses proprietary technology from GEH’s PRISM reactor. Both the PRISM and ARC-100 designs are based on the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (EBR-II) integral sodium-cooled fast reactor prototype which operated at the USA’s Argonne National Laboratory from 1961, finally shutting down in 1994.
This is the third advanced reactor design review conducted by the CNSC, the other two being Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation’s MMR-5 and MMR-10 high-temperature gas reactor.
SOURCES- World Nuclear News, ARC
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com