Enhanced Candu secures regulatory approval

27 June 2013

Canadian regulators have completed the third and final pre-licensing review for Candu Energy's Enhanced Candu 6 (EC6) reactor design, clearing the way for the reactor to be licensed in Canada. Earlier phase reviews for Westinghouse's AP1000 and Atmea's Atmea1 have also been completed.

EC6 (Candu Energy)_460
EC6 is envisaged as a twin-unit power plant (Image: Candu Energy)

In an executive summary of the EC6 third review, national regulator the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) confirmed that there are no fundamental barriers to the licensing of the EC6 design in Canada.

The CNSC's three-stage pre-licensing review is an optional process provided at the request of vendors to verify that a power plant design would be acceptable with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations. Although it is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant, the regulator itself notes that the results, particularly of the second phase review, would be taken into account for any construction licence application and would be likely to result in increased efficiencies of technical reviews.

The EC6 is a 700 MWe Generation III reactor based on the Candu 6 reactor, with safety enhancements to meet the latest Canadian and international standards. Candu Energy chief nuclear engineer Frank Yee said the completion of the review process for the EC6 marked the "next chapter" for nuclear power in Canada, and described the design as "the future of nuclear power generation".

Candu Energy senior vice-president Ala Alizadeh said that the successful Canadian design review would open up international opportunities. "The CNSC review can serve as the reference for international regulators to accelerate licensing in their countries," he noted.

Candu Energy says it is currently pursuing opportunities to build the EC6 in Argentina, Romania and China. In 2012, Candu Energy proposed the deployment of the EC6 in the UK, as part of a possible course of action for managing the country's plutonium stocks as mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, although the design has not yet been submitted for the UK's own regulatory reactor design approval process. The reactor is also under consideration alongside the AP1000 as a possible choice for new units at Darlington in Ontario.

The EC6 now joins Candu Energy's ACR1000, which completed the CNSC's pre-licensing design review process in January 2011. As well as the third phase review for the EC6, the Canadian regulator has also announced the completion of the second phase review for Westinghouse's AP1000 and the first phase review for Atmea's Atmea1. Babcock & Wilcox's mPower small modular reactor is also undergoing the pre-licensing review process, with the first phase due to be completed late this year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News