Licensing small modular reactors

M. V. Ramana, Laura Berzak Hopkins, Alexander Glaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Small modular reactor designs with power levels of less than 300MWe are being developed in several countries. While there are several potential advantages with these reactors, they are also confronted with multiple challenges. Important among these challenges is to have these new reactor designs licensed by national regulatory bodies. Because of the many novel features incorporated in different SMR (small modular reactor) designs, careful and thorough licensing procedures are critical to maintaining safety of the nuclear fleet. This paper examines how different countries have engaged in the process of licensing new reactor designs, and demonstrates both similarities and differences between countries. In many cases, designers have emphasized the safer design and deployment features of SMRs and attempted to use those features as reasons to get existing licensing requirements diluted. This raises the concern that the promised safety enhancements in SMR designs could be offset by a simultaneous relaxation of licensing requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-564
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Licensing
  • Nuclear power
  • Regulation
  • Safety concerns
  • Small modular reactors


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