On April 4, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Regulatory Guide 1.232, Guidance for Developing Principal Design Criteria for Non-Light Water Reactors. The regulatory guide’s generic set of Advanced Reactor Design Criteria cover most non-light-water technologies. The guide also includes technology-specific criteria for sodium-cooled fast reactors and high temperature gas-cooled reactors.
The regulatory guide describes how the general design criteria (GDC) set forth in Part 50 of the NRC’s regulations may be adapted for non-light-water reactor (non-LWR) designs. The guidance may be used by non-LWR reactor applicants to develop principal design criteria for any non-LWR designs, as required under the NRC nuclear power plant regulations. Notably, the guide can be used by advanced reactor designers to align their concepts with relevant NRC regulations for nuclear power plants, and will assist the NRC staff when reviewing future license applications.
We had previously written about the draft regulatory guide published by the NRC last year here. As we noted then, this is an important document that deserves close attention by the advanced reactor community. It provides one of the first detailed insights into how the NRC views advanced reactors, how far it is willing to step away from the GDC framework, and what it finds of importance from a safety perspective for advanced reactors.