On 6 December 2023, ASN held in Montrouge its annual steering committee meeting with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), its American counterpart to discuss regulatory priorities and topics of interest. The meeting was led by Olivier Gupta, ASN Director General and Dan Dorman, NRC Executive Director for Operation. Several topics were discussed, including the licensing of small modular reactors (SMR) and long term operation (LTO) of operating nuclear power plants.
ASN presented the lessons learned from the phase 1 of the Nuward JER (Joint Early Review) conducted jointly with STUK and SUJB regarding the safety options of the Nuward SMR project. The phase 2 of the JER, with an extended membership (ANVS/Netherlands, PAA/Poland and SSM/Sweden joined the initiative) has been established on 14 November 2023. NRC presented the Memorandum of Cooperation with CNSC, its Canadian counterpart, on advanced reactor and SMR technologies.
Studies have been launched in France to prepare for LTO of existing nuclear power plants until and beyond 60 years. ASN pointed out technical issues to be investigated: reactor pressure vessel, cast stainless steel components in the main primary circuit, reactor vessel internals, containment performance, electrical cables and reactor cavity. NRC presented the status of license renewal and support for life extension in the USA. Over the 93 power reactors in operation, 9 have been licensed to 40 years, 78 have been renewed to 60 years and 6 renewed to 80 years. NRC also mentioned that some plants had been definitively shut down at 40 years. NRC and ASN strongly supports bilateral and multilateral efforts to share LTO experiences and best practices.
ASN and NRC also confirmed their determination to carry on their mutual cooperation through future technical exchanges that will contribute to strengthening mutual understanding and sharing respective knowledge and preoccupations. The next bilateral meeting is scheduled for March 2025 in Rockville, MD, USA.
Date of last update : 07/12/2023