Romania sets out roadmap for licensing of NuScale VOYGR

02 October 2023

Romania's National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN) has approved the Licensing Basis Document for the NuScale VOYGR-6 small modular reactor power plant.

How a VOYGR-6 plant could look (Image: NuScale)

Following a comprehensive evaluation, CNCAN issued the official approval letter in August 2023, as confirmation of the Licensing Basis Document conformity with the national regulatory requirements, utility Nuclearelectrica said. It said the approval "represents a key milestone of the SMR project, which will facilitate the implementation of the licensing process for all the stages of the NuScale power plant in Romania".

The Licensing Basis Document (LBD) establishes the licensing requirements for the six-module power plant project, the applicable domestic and international regulatory documents, codes and standards, as well as the project characteristics that ensure the fulfilment of the nuclear safety requirements and criteria.

The LBD maps out the licensing basis of the reference design in the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Design Certification for NuScale's Standard Plant Design and the correspondence with the Romanian licensing requirements and nuclear safety regulations issued by CNCAN in order to establish the authorisation framework for all the stages of development of the proposed nuclear power plant project.

Furthermore, the LBD enables the transition towards the next stages of the project, as it establishes the foundation to initiate the second phase of the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) study. CNCAN's approval of the Licensing Basis Document provides a licensing plan to meeting critical milestones of the project – siting, construction, commissioning and operation.

NuScale Power and RoPower Nuclear - owned jointly by Romania's Nuclearelectrica and Nova Power & Gas - are currently conducting a FEED phase 1 study to analyse the preferred site of the first VOYGR-6 SMR power plant, which is a former coal plant in Doicesti in Romania. New funding announced in May will support the phase 2 study which also initiates the process of securing authorisations and licenses for the project.

"The approval of the LBD by CNCAN, following a complex and thorough assessment process specific to a nuclear regulator, reveals NuScale's strong commitment and high responsibility level towards regulatory compliance and project timeline," said Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita. "For us, at Nuclearelectrica, it is a further, independent confirmation of a solid, safe and reliable SMR technology and a further motivation to continue the deployment of a SMR technology project that will reshape the role of nuclear energy in the economy."

John Hopkins, President and CEO of NuScale, added: "This is an important step forward in our journey to bringing our clean, reliable technology to Romania to help power the country. As the first and only SMR technology to be approved by the US NRC, we are proud to see another endorsement of our design's superior safety case by the Romanian National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control."

The NuScale Power Module on which the VOYGR nuclear power plants are based is a pressurised water reactor with all the components for steam generation and heat exchange incorporated into a single 77 MWe unit. The company offers a 12-module VOYGR-12 power plant capable of generating 924 MWe as well as the four-module VOYGR-4 (308 MWe) and six-module VOYGR-6 (462 MWe) plants and other configurations based on customer needs.

In 2021, NuScale Power and state-owned nuclear power corporation Nuclearelectrica signed a teaming agreement to deploy a 462 MWe NuScale VOYGR-6 power plant in Romania by the end of the decade. In June last year, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to begin conducting engineering studies, technical reviews, and licensing and permitting activities for the project.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News