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 Third Way - Nuclear Reimagined

Regulatory Support​
Through GAIN, DOE –  in close coordination with NRC –  will provide nuclear technology developers with licensing support. While this will take a variety of forms and continue to evolve as technologies mature, a few initial actions are listed below.

Industry-Led Licensing Modernization Project (LMP) Status
April 19, 2018
The DOE is working with interested stakeholders to support activities related to the advanced reactor Licensing Modernization Project (LMP). This project is being led by Southern Company (on behalf of industry), coordinated with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), and cost-shared by DOE. The project is developing technical non-LWR licensing methods that are technology-inclusive, risk-informed, and performance-based. A key LMP objective is to generate a document for NRC review and endorsement that can be subsequently used by advanced reactor license applicants as regulatory guidance. 

Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Non-Light-Water Reactors
April 2018
This document provides fundamental guidance that will reduce regulatory risk for the advanced non-LWR design community.

Cooperation between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) has culminated in the issuance of a significant licensing aid for developers of advanced non-light-water (non-LWR) reactors. The NRC's new Regulatory Guide 1.232, "Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Non-Light-Water Reactors," helps developers of these technologies align their concepts with relevant NRC regulations and forms a key portion of the NRC's advanced reactor regulatory framework.

This new regulatory guide provides designers, applicants, and licensees of non-LWRs guidance for developing a proposed facility's principal design criteria (PDC) that establish the necessary design, fabrication, construction, testing, and performance requirements for structures, systems, and components that assure that the facility can be operated without undue risk to the health and safety of the public. This regulatory guide provides a number of benefits, including:
  • Reducing regulatory uncertainty for advanced non-LWR innovators and developers
  • Addressing design innovations that pursue enhanced nuclear safety
  • Improving licensing timeliness and efficiency for both license applicants and NRC staff
The Regulatory Guide's generic set of Advanced Reactor Design Criteria cover most non-LWR technologies. The guide also includes technology-specific criteria for sodium-cooled fast reactors and high temperature gas-cooled reactors. Revision 0 to RG 1.232 (ADAMS Accession No. ML17325A611) was made available to the public on April 9, 2018.

Convening Third Workshop on Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors 
April 2017
The third in this series of workshops is scheduled for April 25 – 26, 2017, also at the Marriott Bethesda North Hotel and Convention Center.  Discussions/presentations among participants are expected to include regulatory review process options, use of modeling and testing in the design and licensing processes, development in industry consensus standards, and Quality Assurance Program development. For information on NRC workshops on Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors, please visit the link below. 

DOE-NRC Memorandum of Understanding 
November 10, 2016
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) describes the roles, responsibilities, and the processes related to the implementation of the DOE Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. GAIN is an initiative that is intended to provide the nuclear energy community with increased access to the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to mover new or advanced nuclear reactor designs toward commercialization while ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet.