Romanian nuclear energy company Nuclearelectrica and American small modular reactors (SMRs) manufacturer NuScale Power welcomed the approval of the Licensing Basis Document (LBD) for the NuScale SMR power plant with a gross installed power of 462 megawatts-electric (MWe) by the Romanian National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN). Following a comprehensive evaluation, CNCAN issued the official approval letter in August 2023, as confirmation of the Licensing Basis Document (LBD) conformity with the national regulatory requirements.
The approval of the Licensing Basis Document (LBD) represents a key milestone of the Small Modular Reactor Project, which will facilitate the implementation of the licensing process for all the stages of the NuScale Power plant in Romania.
The LBD establishes the licensing requirements for the six-module power plant project, the applicable, both domestic and international, regulatory documents, codes and standards as well as the project characteristics that ensure the fulfilment of the nuclear safety requirements and criteria.
The LBD maps out the licensing basis of the reference design in the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Design Certification for NuScale’s Standard Plant Design (SPD) and the correspondence with the Romanian licensing requirements and nuclear safety regulations issued by CNCAN in order to establish the authorisation framework for all the stages of development of the proposed nuclear power plant project.
Furthermore, the LBD enables the transition towards the next stages of the project, as it establishes the foundation to initiate the second phase of the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) study. CNCAN’s approval of the LBD is providing a licensing plan to meet critical milestones of the project – siting, construction, commissioning and operation.
Currently, RoPower and NuScale are carrying out FEED Study phase 1, which consists of a series of engineering and design activities and studies, technical analysis of the preferred site which is the former Doicești power plant and estimation of the calendar and costs. During the FEED study, recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are also applied, following the IAEA Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission carried out in August 2022, at the request of Nuclearelectrica.
“The approval of the LBD by CNCAN, following a complex and thorough assessment process specific to a nuclear regulator, reveals NuScale’s strong commitment and high responsibility level towards regulatory compliance and project timeline,” said Cosmin Ghita, Chief Executive Officer Nuclearelectrica. “For us, at Nuclearelectrica, it is a further, independent confirmation of a solid, safe and reliable SMR technology and a further motivation to continue the deployment of an SMR technology project that will reshape the role of nuclear energy in the economy.”
“This is an important step forward in our journey to bringing our clean, reliable technology to Romania to help power the country,” said John Hopkins President and Chief Executive Officer of NuScale. “As the first and only SMR technology to be approved by the US NRC, we are proud to see another endorsement of our design’s superior safety case by the Romanian National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control.”
Romania, through the project company RoPower, founded by Nuclearelectrica and Nova Power & Gas (part of the E-Infra Group), is the first country in Europe and the second in the world after the United States to take the first steps toward the implementation of NuScale’s SMR technology with a 6-module plant and an installed capacity of 462 MWe within this decade.