31 Jan 2022

Participation of the SEC NRS in the implementation of small modular reactors technologies

General view of the nuclear power plant with SMR RITM-200N (© The Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North of Sakha Republic (Yakutia))
General view of the nuclear power plant with SMR RITM-200N (© The Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North of Sakha Republic (Yakutia))

Nowadays, there are more than seventy small modular reactors (SMR) designs around the world on different stages of development and implementation. Most of the SMR designs adopt advanced or inherent safety features and are deployable either as a single or multi-module plant.

At the same time, in the states planning to use SMR technologies, the issues of regulating and ensuring the safety of SMRs are relevant. These issues are actively discussed both at the national level between SMR designers, regulatory authorities and TSO, and at the international level within the framework of the activities of IAEA, OECD NEA, SMR Forum and at other international platforms. 

Implementation of SMR technologies is one of the most important directions in the development of nuclear power generation in the Russian Federation as well. At the moment, the world's first floating power unit "Akademik Lomonosov" with two SMRs KLT-40S is successfully operated.

Additionally, within the framework of the Russian State Program “Development of the nuclear power industry complex”, it is planned to build in Yakutia a reference land-based nuclear power plant with a RITM-200N SMR. 
The SMR RITM-200N is designed based on many years of experience in designing and operating nuclear reactors for marine nuclear installations in the Russian Federation, including nuclear icebreakers and a floating nuclear power unit. In particular, the icebreakers “Arktika” (in October 2020) and “Sibir” (in December 2021) are put into operation, which is equipped with two RITM-200 reactors (direct analogues of the RITM-200N reactor).

Nuclear power plant with SMR RITM-200N is designed to meet the needs for the generation of electrical and thermal energy in regions and countries with small energy grids, as well as in remote and hard-to-reach areas, including for the industrial needs. 

Since 2017, SEC NRS has been actively involved in the development of approaches to the safety regulation of land-based SMR and provides scientific and technical support to Rostechnadzor in making regulatory decisions regarding SMR projects, including RITM-200N. 

SEC NRS also interacts with SMR designers and conducts analyzes of the safety concept and other documents on justification safety before the beginning of licensing procedures. Conducting such analysis helps to identify safety deficiencies in design solutions and allows developers to make the necessary adjustments to the design or develop the necessary safety cases at an early stage of the project realization. 

In addition, the results of the analysis are used to develop plans to improve the regulatory framework. Thus, in 2021, the Roadmap for improving federal rules and regulations and developing standards for to take into account the specificities of a nuclear power plant with SMR RITM-200N project was developed.

The experience of conducting a preliminary analysis of SMR designs, as well as safety reviews of existing reactor installations, is actively used by SEC NRS specialists during participation in the activities of international organizations, including IAEA consultancy meetings and SMR Forum.


Andrey Kirkin
Scientific and Engineering Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety Russia (SEC NRS)