The US Department of Energy (DOE) and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to share technical expertise and computing resources to speed up the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies.
The MOU centers on DOE’s new National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) initiative which was authorized by the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017. NRIC will accelerate commercialization by helping private companies test and demonstrate advanced nuclear technologies.
This image simulates flow into an advanced recycling nuclear reactor. Source: Argonne National Laboratory
The agreement couples the research capabilities of DOE’s National Laboratories with the regulatory expertise of the NRC to help inform and accelerate the development and licensing of advanced reactors.
According to the agreement, DOE and NRC will share technical information and expertise. In addition, the NRC will have access to capabilities developed through NRIC, including state-of-the-art high-performance computers and modeling codes, to support licensing of advanced nuclear reactors. The NRC will also have access to DOE facilities in order to observe and learn from the research, development, and demonstration of innovative nuclear technologies.
Coolant-flow pressure distribution simulation. Source: Argonne National Laboratory
In return, the NRC will provide DOE and the nuclear community with information on its regulations, guidance and licensing processes for new or advanced nuclear reactor technologies. DOE will assist prospective new or advanced reactor applicants in understanding and navigating the regulatory process.