U.S., Canadian regulators complete IMSR technical review

June 9, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Computer rendering of an IMSR400 plant. (Image: Terrestrial Energy)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have completed a first joint technical review of Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor, the company announced earlier this week.

The IMSR was selected in December 2019 to be the first advanced non–light water nuclear reactor technology to be studied under an August 2019 NRC/CNSC memorandum of cooperation aimed at enhancing regulatory effectiveness through collaborative work on technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technologies.

The reviews are in: “The completion of the joint review is an important step in supporting Terrestrial Energy’s technology and regulatory programs,” said Michael Binder, former CNSC president, in the company’s June 7 announcement. “It is also clear evidence that international regulatory harmonization is possible. Reviews by independent national regulators provide confidence and credibility to the technologies involved, as well as build momentum for global rollout.”

“The joint review . . . represents a milestone in efforts of the CNSC and NRC to reduce regulatory duplication and is an important step in harmonizing the regulatory reviews of the two regulators,” commented former NRC commissioner Jeff Merrifield. “This is a very positive step for the advanced reactor community and efforts to deploy a new generation of nuclear facilities in North America.”

Simon Irish, Terrestrial Energy’s chief executive officer, said the completion of the review “builds further confidence in IMSR technology and supports our national regulatory programs,” adding that it “is an important step forward in the commercialization of the IMSR and paves the way for further cross-border collaboration.”

In case you missed it: Terrestrial Energy announced last September that in response to utility requirements, it had upgraded its IMSR400 power plant design to feature a net 390 MWe of generation capacity for grid supply from twin reactors and generators. (Each IMSR Core-unit has the potential to generate 195 MWe.) According to the company, the upgrade increased the cost-competitiveness of the IMSR “as a clean, safe, and reliable source of energy.”

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