Small modular reactors (SMRs) and Generation IV nuclear energy systems could provide new, advanced energy production options to address long-term energy security and environmental challenges. The NEA is considering SMRs across the full range of its ongoing work: Nuclear safety technology and regulation; Human aspects of nuclear safety; Nuclear science; Development and innovation in the civil use of nuclear energy; Radiological protection of people and the environment; Radioactive waste and spent fuel management; and Nuclear decommissioning and legacy management.
In this context, the Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) created a task force to explore and report on the radiological protection and public health challenges related to the deployment of SMRs. The task force gathered experts from Canada, Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States for its first meeting on 21 October 2022.
During the meeting, participants were briefed on NEA’s activities on SMRs and discussed the radiological protection and public health challenges related to SMRs that they had identified in their own countries. The task force identified emergency preparedness and response, compact design, fuel and coolant, radioactive waste management, and human aspects related to SMRs as potential focus areas for further reflection. On this basis, the group plans to produce a report providing a brief high-level analysis of radiological protection and public health challenges related to the deployment of SMRs and a list of priority issues for consideration by the Committee at its next annual meeting in April 2023.