Prodigy Clean Energy Contributing to IAEA Work on SMRs and Transportable Nuclear Power Plants (TNPPs)

by Prodigy Clean Energy

February 12, 2024

VIENNA, AUSTRIA -- Earlier this month from February 6-9, 2024, Marcel Devos, VP of Innovation and Regulatory Affairs at Prodigy Clean Energy, had the honor of serving as Chair, with the excellent convening support of the IAEA Scientific Secretariat and Technical Staff, entitled: Considerations to Facilitate the Accelerated Deployment of Small Modular Reactors.  

Marcel Devos, VP of Innovation and Regulatory Affairs at Prodigy Clean Energy and Chair of the February 6-9, 2024, IAEA Technical Meeting: Considerations to Facilitate the Accelerated Deployment of Small Modular Reactors. Prior to joining Prodigy in 2021, Marcel served with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) as a new build senior licensing project officer for 15 years. During this time, he implemented processes and approaches to standardize the CNSC’s Vendor Design Review program for use with new reactor technologies such as SMRs and advanced reactors and contributed to regulatory framework development for these technologies at the CNSC and the IAEA.

Learning points from these types of International Cooperation activities guide Prodigy’s ongoing technology development, and government and industry stakeholder engagement work, ensuring the company’s readiness to deploy TNPPs in both Canada and export markets, in the near term.

Organized under the IAEA’s Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative (NHSI), this February meeting convened to produce an Industry Perspective IAEA TECDOC, documenting how different SMR sizes, types, features and deployment models would potentially impact the Nuclear Infrastructure of an IAEA Member State. Discussions considered both land-based and marine-based SMR facilities, and included their applications in new-to-nuclear-power (Embarking) countries, as well as in countries expanding their existing nuclear power programs. The TECDOC excluded nuclear propulsion and offshore nuclear facilities for now.

This new TECDOC uses the IAEA Milestones Approach and the accompanying 19 Infrastructure Issues as the frame of reference. The objective for each Infrastructure Issue is to document different ways to implement readiness of Nuclear Infrastructure in such a way as to accelerate the long-term deployment of SMRs, either domestically or as export cooperation. Prodigy has been leading the writing of chapters focused on Human Resource Development and Regulatory Infrastructure.

Over four days in Vienna, a large contingent of Member States, some deploying and preparing to export SMRs (Technology Exporting Countries) and others considering imports of SMR technologies and services (Technology Receiving Countries), provided feedback on the draft TECDOC. This feedback will be carried forward to update the TECDOC, which is targeted to be completed by the end of 2024.

During discussions, significant consensus was reached around Member States’ need to begin preparations for SMR deployment much earlier than originally expected. Deploying SMRs will require coordinated readiness plans and strategies systematically executed across all stakeholders, including governments, operators, funding organizations, SMR vendors, regulators and those who engage with the public. Further, SMR new builds will need to capture and address lessons learned from past large-scale NPPs and other civilian infrastructure projects — in order to make the project successful, skilled people who can communicate and work together will be as important as the SMR technologies themselves.

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