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Advanced modular reactor link-up between UK and Canadian regulators

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is working with its counterparts in Canada to both share best practice and experience around reviewing Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) and Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technologies.

This week, Terms of Reference were signed and published between ONR and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two organisations.

The agreement, part of the Information Exchange Arrangement between the regulators which was signed in October 2020, also allows for future working to facilitate a joint technical review of AMR and SMR technologies and to cover pre-application activities to ensure mutual preparedness to review them effectively and efficiently.

Signed by Donald Urquhart, ONR's Deputy Chief Nuclear Inspector & Executive Director of Regulation, Ramzi Jammal, CNSC's Executive Vice President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer, Tim Parkes, ONR's Head of Advanced Nuclear Technologies and Dr. Caroline Ducros, CNSC's Director General, Directorate of Advanced Reactor Technologies, the publication of the Terms of Reference is the next step in furthering the Memorandum of Cooperation between the UK and Canada.

The Terms of Reference will now allow those involved to establish a programme of work to accomplish specific cooperative activities under the memorandum.

ONR and CNSC will work together on activities relating to water-cooled and non-water-cooled reactors, developing shared technical review approaches, collaborating on pre-licensing activities like design assessment, and participating in discussions about research, training and the development of regulatory approaches to address unique and novel technical considerations for ensuring the safety of advanced reactors and SMRs.

Rachel Curtis, one of the ONR nuclear safety inspectors leading on the development of this international collaboration, said: "We are pleased to publish these Terms of Reference for this Memorandum of Cooperation as this will greatly assist us in our regulation of AMR and SMR technologies.

"Through enhancing the depth and breadth of understanding within both organisations, and providing joint opportunities for learning, this agreement ultimately brings about a more efficient use of regulators’ resources by leveraging shared technical knowledge and sees a mutually beneficial convergence in regulatory standards between the UK and Canada on this vital topic."