At the meeting of the Board of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, held on October 19, 2023, the draft document "Regulation on Pre-License Assessment of the Nuclear Installation Project" (hereinafter: the Regulation) was approved. Therefore, SNRIU will be able to conduct a pre-license assessment of projects of new nuclear facilities at the request of interested parties: operating organizations, project organizations (management), suppliers of nuclear facilities. The document was developed by The State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (SSTC NRS), which is subordinated to the SNRIU, with support by The US Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Regulation development is based on CNSC pre-licensing vendor design review (the approach to the pre-license assessment of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Canada)
The relevance of the pre-license assessment is explained by the rapid increase in the number of new projects of reactor systems (over the past two decades - more than 100), which use innovative technologies, solutions and approaches that have no analogues among existing nuclear power plants and wide practical experience of application directly in the field of nuclear energy. In particular, we are talking about projects of small modular reactors (SMR), the development of which is one of the main priorities of the energy sector of Ukraine.
The pre-license process is optional, it isn`t a part of the licensing process and it doesn`t affect the decision to issue a license to implementation of the activities related to a specific stage of the life cycle of a nuclear installation or any other permitting document.
The purpose of the pre-license assessment is to identify potential problematic issues regarding the project of nuclear installations and to identify those technological solutions that can significantly complicate or make it impossible to obtain a license for the construction of nuclear installations in the future in advance.
The main objective of the pre-license assessment is to verify, at a high level, the acceptability of a nuclear installation project and its safety justification with respect to national safety requirements and rules for nuclear and radiation safety as well as IAEA fundamental safety principles, reference levels and provisions of WENRA documents.
The Regulation proposes 19 directions for pre-license evaluation. However, their list is not exhaustive and can be adjusted. The need for a pre-license assessment in full or any separate stage of the pre-license assessment is determined by the customer of the assessment, taking into account the degree of readiness of the technical documentation of the project and the safety justification of the nuclear installation.
The expediency of introducing the practice of pre-license assessment in Ukraine is confirmed by the experience of the USA, Canada, Great Britain, in which innovative technologies are actively introduced.
The SNRIU and SSTC NRS are recommended in their practical activities to be guided by the "Regulation on pre-license assessment of the nuclear installation project."
The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine informs all potentially interested parties (licensees, project organizations, suppliers of nuclear facilities) about the possibility of conducting a pre-license assessment in Ukraine.