On the 14th and 15th October 2021, WENRA held its regular biannual plenary meeting in Paris.
The meeting was the opportunity for WENRA to make progress on several topics such as its membership, the 2023 Topical Peer Review on fire protection and the Small Modular Reactors.
As a follow-up on the previous WENRA plenary meetings and in direct connection with the 2019-2023 strategy, WENRA granted the observer status to the NRC (USA). This decision is aligned with WENRA’s will to benefit from the experience from regulators from large nuclear countries and to increase the influence of the SRLs worldwide.
WENRA also changed the status of the CNSC (Canada), observer since 2015, to associated member. After Rostechnadzor (Russia), CNSC is the second regulator to accede to this status, which reflects a commitment to use the WENRA SRLs as a benchmark for their national regulations.
“This is a demonstration that WENRA has been able to raise interest from recognized regulators far beyond Europe”, WENRA’s Chairman Olivier Gupta declared. “It is a very good news for safety harmonization worldwide that CNSC voluntarily commits to use WENRA’s SRLs”, he added.
Beyond this case, WENRA decided to consider how to interact with countries potentially interested in its activities, either by granting them an observer status or by other appropriate means.
2023 Topical Peer Review
As a follow-up on the decision made at its April 2021 plenary meeting to implement an ad hoc working group focusing on the 2nd topical peer review (TPR) on the fire protection, WENRA discussed the progress made by the ad hoc group on drafting the technical specification (TS) of the TPR.
WENRA members acknowledged the progress made in the implementation of a graded approach to select the key issues on which to focus. This is necessary to keep the TPR exercise at the same time ambitious, feasible and valuable. However, WENRA asked the group to strengthen the graded approach in some specific parts of the draft TS.
Several regulators from countries outside the EU expressed that the TPR was a valuable exercise to improve safety, and confirmed they would take part in it.
Topical discussion on SMRs
Considering the growing interest of many countries worldwide for SMRs, the fact that some regulators have already performed a pre-licensing process and the high expectation of industry for regulatory harmonisation, WENRA hold a topical discussion on SMRs.
This preliminary discussion has confirmed the need to focus WENRA SMRs-related activities on regulatory harmonisation trough definition of safety objectives or potential development of SRLs.
In this perspective, additional exchanges with the EUR organisation to discuss its “Key Positions” report for design SMLWR to be built in Europe will be organised.