“This is a tremendous milestone for the Canadian nuclear industry as it signals the strength of the CANDU nuclear design to the global marketplace,” says Hugh MacDiarmid, AECL’s president and chief executive officer (CEO). “The CNSC has found no fundamental barriers to licensing an ACR-1000 here in Canada, which gives a strong indication that our design is safe and robust.”

To achieve this objective, CNSC staff assessed specific safety and security aspects of the ACR-1000 design to identify any potential technical issues that could constitute a potential fundamental barrier to licensing a new reactor design in Canada.

“I am pleased to recognize the completion of the Phase II Pre-Project Design Review of the ACR-1000 for AECL,” says Michael Binder CNSC’s president & CEO. “This is a positive result in the assessment of whether there are any fundamental barriers to safety in the proposed design provisions of the ACR-1000.”

The CNSC Phase 2 Pre-Project Design Review concluded:

AECL has provided sufficient design and analysis information for the purpose of the review;

At a high level, the design intent is compliant with CNSC regulatory requirements and meets the expectations for new nuclear power plants in Canada;

CNSC staff did not identify any fundamental barriers to licensing the ACR-1000 in Canada;

An adequate design process is in place, and the CNSC has made some observations regarding its implementation;

As part of a licence application, CNSC staff would expect a commissioning program to be submitted that is commensurate with industry best practice that would verify to the extent practicable that the new features of the ACR-1000 design will function in accordance with their design requirements; and,

The overall ACR-1000 R&D program was derived logically from the existing knowledge base and appears to be comprehensive — addressing key safety-related and first-of-a-kind R&D requirements.

While the overall conclusion indicated that there are no fundamental barriers to licensing the ACR-1000 in Canada, it should be noted that this is subject to the successful completion of AECL’s planned activities, in particular those related to R&D.

MacDiarmid added, “We are confident in the merits of the ACR-1000 as it’s built on the fundamentals of our existing CANDU reactor fleet, including the CANDU 6, which has been built on-time and on-budget on four continents in the last 12 years. AECL and its Team CANDU partners are ready to build the first ACR-1000 on Canadian soil and the positive conclusions of the CNSC’s Pre-Project Design Review provide more confidence in our readiness.”