NuScale SMR meets Polish safety requirements, says regulator

02 January 2024

NuScale Power's NPM-20 small modular reactor (SMR) technology is compliant with Polish nuclear safety and radiological protection standards, the president of the National Atomic Energy Agency (Państwowa Agencja Atomistyki PAA) said in a general opinion.

A model of a NuScale SMR (Image: KGHM)

The PAA President assessed, among others: assumptions of the design of the reactor control room, reactor core, as well as the following systems: electrical power supply, command and control, fire protection, reactor cooling, auxiliary systems, radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel management, and the reactor containment used in the NuScale NPM-20 reactor with a power of 77 MWe.

Aspects related to the design and operation of a multi-module nuclear facility, the methodology for classifying the safety of systems and elements of the structure and equipment of a nuclear facility were also analysed.

According to the PAA, a general opinion, "as a pre-licence instrument, may apply to any solutions planned by the investor, including design, technological and organisational solutions, which will have a direct impact on the issues of nuclear safety and radiological protection". The opinion aims to determine whether the planned organisational and technical solutions comply with the requirements of nuclear safety and radiological protection resulting from the provisions of the country's Atomic Law Act, or whether the investor should make appropriate modifications.

In an opinion issued on 22 December, the PAA president concludes that the assumptions adopted in the design of the NuScale technology are correct and meet the requirements of Poland's Atomic Law and selected regulations on the safety of nuclear facilities. The conclusions published by the PAA will be taken into account in the standard and detailed design process of the NuScale reactors that are planned to be constructed in Poland.

In July last year, Polish copper and silver producer KGHM Polska Miedź SA's plan to construct a power plant based on NuScale's SMR was approved by the country's Ministry of Climate and Environment. The decision-in-principle issued by the ministry is a general opinion on selected conditions enabling the construction of a VOYGR modular nuclear power plant with a capacity of 462 MWe consisting of six modules, each with a capacity of 77 MWe.

The decision-in-principle represents official state approval for the planned investment in accordance with the assumptions and concept presented by the company. It is the first decision in the process of administrative permits for investments in nuclear power facilities in Poland that an investor may apply for. Obtaining it entitles KGHM to apply for a number of further administrative arrangements, such as a siting decision or construction licence.

In February 2022, KGHM signed a definitive agreement with NuScale to initiate work towards deploying a first NuScale VOYGR SMR power plant in Poland as early as 2029. In July last year, KGHM submitted an application to the PAA to evaluate NuScale's SMR technology and prepare a site study. Under a task order signed in September, NuScale will continue to support KGHM's application to the PAA through activities including drafting additional preliminary safety analysis reports and coordinating with the PAA. The task order also sets the stage for the subsequent tasks in the Early Works Agreement as proposed by NuScale to KGHM.

NuScale's SMR technology was the first to have gained approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in August 2020. NuScale offers VOYGR plants in four, six and 12-module configurations.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News