skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Proposed guidance for preparing and reviewing a molten salt non-power production or utilization facility application

Abstract

Development of non-power molten salt reactors (MSRs) are under consideration to further establish an MSR experience base, support the requirements of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Section 50.43(e), and provide any additional analyses needed for development of a full-scale MSR. Guidance provided in this report is based on MSRs operating with liquid fuel (i.e., fuel dissolved within a molten salt). These reactors, unless owned by the DOE or DOD, will require licensing by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff. Standard review plan (SRP) guidance for large light water reactors (LWRs) is available in NUREG-0800, Standard Review Plan for the Review of Safety Analysis Reports for Nuclear Power Plants; Light Water Reactor (LWR) Edition. However, NRC staff observed that NUREG-0800 is very cumbersome to apply to non-power reactors “because of the great differences in complexity and hazards between non-power reactors and nuclear power plants.” Therefore, a program to develop performance-based guidance applicable to non-power reactors was initiated. In 1996, NUREG-1537, Parts 1 and 2, Guidelines for Preparing and Reviewing Applications for the Licensing of Non-Power Reactors, was published. Part 1, the format and content guide, suggests a uniform format for presenting information in non-power reactormore » applications that is acceptable to the NRC staff, but conformance with the format and content is not required. Part 2, the SRP, ensures the quality and uniformity of the staff review of an application. Unfortunately, the application guidelines and SRP do not provide adequate guidance for all advanced non-LWR technologies and applications. This discrepancy eventually led to the 2012 development of interim staff guidance (ISG) for NUREG-1537, which includes criteria for describing and reviewing aqueous homogeneous reactors (AHRs). Specifically, NUREG-1537 ISG, 2012 expanded the original document to address three areas: 1. updated criteria for heterogeneous non-power reactors, 2. criteria for licensing AHRs, and 3. criteria for licensing a Part 50-licensed isotope production facility. In 2015, the US Department of Energy (DOE) opted to build on the AHR NUREG-1537 ISG experience by performing a gap analysis of the guidance that would be used to license a non-power MSR. MSRs represent one of the advanced non-LWR technologies selected by DOE for development through a multiyear cost share award with Southern Company Services. Under this Advanced Reactor Concepts 2015 (DOE Advanced Reactor Concepts [ARC] 15) award program, the DOE tasked Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to evaluate the guidance changes that the NRC may need to consider when licensing an MSR non-power reactor. ORNL staff, with support from Boston Government Services, LLC, focused on five system-related chapters in NUREG-1537 that were considered most relevant to inform the effort that would be required for a non-power MSR applicant. ORNL documented this review in a technical report, ORNL/TM-2018/834, Proposed Guidance for Preparing and Reviewing Molten Salt Non-Power Reactor License Applications (NUREG-1537). The report was subsequently shared with industry and the NRC. The 2018 review was limited in scope, focusing on key system chapters based on the expected significance of each chapter relative to expected differences in addressing advanced non-LWR technologies, specifically non-power MSRs, compared with heterogeneously fueled non-power reactors. In the ORNL report, proposed generic adaptations were suggested for the following NUREG-1537 chapters: Chapter 4, “Reactor Description”; Chapter 5, “Reactor Coolant Systems”; Chapter 6, “Engineered Safety Features”; Chapter 9, “Auxiliary Systems”; Chapter 11, “Radiation Protection Program and Waste Management” The inclusion of Chapter 11 in the previous review effort was intended to provide guidance for categorizing the waste-handling process for an MSR operating with homogenous fuel. The introductions from Parts 1 and 2 of the 2012 NUREG-1537 ISG provide guidance for the application and review of production facilities. After a period of operation, non-power MSRs with homogenous fuel will include gaseous and soluble fission products. The gaseous fission products will be collected and held for decay in an off-gas system. There might also be an initiative to polish or filter the soluble fission products in the fuel salt by some mechanical or chemical means. The treatment and handling of fission products in the non-power MSR fuel salt and the description of this process in the safety analysis report (SAR) must be very precise to avoid the waste treatment facility being construed as a co-located special nuclear material (SNM) fuel cycle facility (see Section 2.3 of this report). Subsequent to the release of ORNL/TM-2018/834, NRC staff expressed a desire to continue the regulatory gap analysis that was begun in that report. This would provide additional clarity and information addressed in certain sections of the original report, while also providing new guidance on certain topics not addressed in the original report. This revision would benefit the NRC staff reviewing applications involving non-power MSR designs and would help developers understand how the NRC staff might approach the review of such applications. The focus of this report is to provide infrastructure support to the NRC staff for the regulatory review of non-power MSRs.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Boston Government Services, LLC, Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1649313
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2020/1478
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS

Citation Formats

Belles, Randy J., Flanagan, George F., Muhlheim, Michael D., and Voth, Marcus. Proposed guidance for preparing and reviewing a molten salt non-power production or utilization facility application. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.2172/1649313.
Belles, Randy J., Flanagan, George F., Muhlheim, Michael D., & Voth, Marcus. Proposed guidance for preparing and reviewing a molten salt non-power production or utilization facility application. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1649313
Belles, Randy J., Flanagan, George F., Muhlheim, Michael D., and Voth, Marcus. 2020. "Proposed guidance for preparing and reviewing a molten salt non-power production or utilization facility application". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1649313. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1649313.
@article{osti_1649313,
title = {Proposed guidance for preparing and reviewing a molten salt non-power production or utilization facility application},
author = {Belles, Randy J. and Flanagan, George F. and Muhlheim, Michael D. and Voth, Marcus},
abstractNote = {Development of non-power molten salt reactors (MSRs) are under consideration to further establish an MSR experience base, support the requirements of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Section 50.43(e), and provide any additional analyses needed for development of a full-scale MSR. Guidance provided in this report is based on MSRs operating with liquid fuel (i.e., fuel dissolved within a molten salt). These reactors, unless owned by the DOE or DOD, will require licensing by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff. Standard review plan (SRP) guidance for large light water reactors (LWRs) is available in NUREG-0800, Standard Review Plan for the Review of Safety Analysis Reports for Nuclear Power Plants; Light Water Reactor (LWR) Edition. However, NRC staff observed that NUREG-0800 is very cumbersome to apply to non-power reactors “because of the great differences in complexity and hazards between non-power reactors and nuclear power plants.” Therefore, a program to develop performance-based guidance applicable to non-power reactors was initiated. In 1996, NUREG-1537, Parts 1 and 2, Guidelines for Preparing and Reviewing Applications for the Licensing of Non-Power Reactors, was published. Part 1, the format and content guide, suggests a uniform format for presenting information in non-power reactor applications that is acceptable to the NRC staff, but conformance with the format and content is not required. Part 2, the SRP, ensures the quality and uniformity of the staff review of an application. Unfortunately, the application guidelines and SRP do not provide adequate guidance for all advanced non-LWR technologies and applications. This discrepancy eventually led to the 2012 development of interim staff guidance (ISG) for NUREG-1537, which includes criteria for describing and reviewing aqueous homogeneous reactors (AHRs). Specifically, NUREG-1537 ISG, 2012 expanded the original document to address three areas: 1. updated criteria for heterogeneous non-power reactors, 2. criteria for licensing AHRs, and 3. criteria for licensing a Part 50-licensed isotope production facility. In 2015, the US Department of Energy (DOE) opted to build on the AHR NUREG-1537 ISG experience by performing a gap analysis of the guidance that would be used to license a non-power MSR. MSRs represent one of the advanced non-LWR technologies selected by DOE for development through a multiyear cost share award with Southern Company Services. Under this Advanced Reactor Concepts 2015 (DOE Advanced Reactor Concepts [ARC] 15) award program, the DOE tasked Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to evaluate the guidance changes that the NRC may need to consider when licensing an MSR non-power reactor. ORNL staff, with support from Boston Government Services, LLC, focused on five system-related chapters in NUREG-1537 that were considered most relevant to inform the effort that would be required for a non-power MSR applicant. ORNL documented this review in a technical report, ORNL/TM-2018/834, Proposed Guidance for Preparing and Reviewing Molten Salt Non-Power Reactor License Applications (NUREG-1537). The report was subsequently shared with industry and the NRC. The 2018 review was limited in scope, focusing on key system chapters based on the expected significance of each chapter relative to expected differences in addressing advanced non-LWR technologies, specifically non-power MSRs, compared with heterogeneously fueled non-power reactors. In the ORNL report, proposed generic adaptations were suggested for the following NUREG-1537 chapters: Chapter 4, “Reactor Description”; Chapter 5, “Reactor Coolant Systems”; Chapter 6, “Engineered Safety Features”; Chapter 9, “Auxiliary Systems”; Chapter 11, “Radiation Protection Program and Waste Management” The inclusion of Chapter 11 in the previous review effort was intended to provide guidance for categorizing the waste-handling process for an MSR operating with homogenous fuel. The introductions from Parts 1 and 2 of the 2012 NUREG-1537 ISG provide guidance for the application and review of production facilities. After a period of operation, non-power MSRs with homogenous fuel will include gaseous and soluble fission products. The gaseous fission products will be collected and held for decay in an off-gas system. There might also be an initiative to polish or filter the soluble fission products in the fuel salt by some mechanical or chemical means. The treatment and handling of fission products in the non-power MSR fuel salt and the description of this process in the safety analysis report (SAR) must be very precise to avoid the waste treatment facility being construed as a co-located special nuclear material (SNM) fuel cycle facility (see Section 2.3 of this report). Subsequent to the release of ORNL/TM-2018/834, NRC staff expressed a desire to continue the regulatory gap analysis that was begun in that report. This would provide additional clarity and information addressed in certain sections of the original report, while also providing new guidance on certain topics not addressed in the original report. This revision would benefit the NRC staff reviewing applications involving non-power MSR designs and would help developers understand how the NRC staff might approach the review of such applications. The focus of this report is to provide infrastructure support to the NRC staff for the regulatory review of non-power MSRs.},
doi = {10.2172/1649313},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1649313}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {4}
}