Fortum and Fermi Energia have completed a licensing model study for SMR deployment in Estonia. The SMR deployment study discusses the possible main elements of a generic licensing process in a nuclear newcomer country, such as Estonia. The study focuses on the construction licence phase and makes suggestions regarding a possible licensing model. While the study considers specifically a newcomer nuclear country, such as Estonia, many of the findings can be considered as applicable in SMR deployment projects worldwide.
The licensee is always responsible for the safety of the nuclear plant, and the regulator must independently ensure its safe operation. Assuming that the same SMR type has already been licensed and constructed in a country, the licensing process in subsequent countries can be made significantly more efficient through maximum utilisation of the existing safety case and Preliminary Safety Assessment Report (PSAR), as well as the corresponding regulatory safety assessment from the earlier licensing case. Therefore, it would be beneficial if the legislation and regulation would only set safety targets compatible with international practices (such as IAEA), but avoid setting detailed, prescriptive requirements that could lead to design changes. Ideally, deviations from the reference design would be limited only to the local site and environmental conditions. The safety assessments of the licence applicant and the regulator should be based on a graded approach, prioritising deviations from the reference design and safety significant items. The study provides also examples on the objectives and methods of the different safety assessments.
“Fermi Energia is very pleased with the cooperation with Fortum and the result of the study. Having presented the study to US, Canadian and Finnish regulators, it is the basis for practical progress. The study forms the basis for a common Declaration on SMR Licensing by nine companies and organisations, including Vattenfall, Fortum, Synthos of Poland, Nuclearelectrica of Romania, and others enabling the development of industry consensus. In Estonia, we look forward to cooperation with Fortum in supporting the government with proposals on implementation of the study results”, Kalev Kallemets, CEO and co-founder of Fermi Energia.
“To make SMRs a reality, international harmonisation of safety requirements is hugely important. This requires that we extend and deepen the work currently underway by several international organisations”, says Olli Kymäläinen, Head of Newbuild and Upgrades Services at Fortum.
“We have been working with Fermi Energia on SMR licensing since early 2020 and look forward to continuing our cooperation to shape the nuclear industry”, he adds.
Olli Kymäläinen, Head of Newbuild and Upgrades Services, Fortum, olli.kymalainen(at)fortum.com