The regulatory framework for the current generation of operating plants and advanced light water reactors (ALWRs) planned for near term construction has evolved over several decades to permit effective regulation of the light water reactor (LWR) designs. To address other reactor types, development of a framework that possesses the attributes of being technology neutral, risk-informed and performance-based with corresponding processes (regulations and guidance) is ongoing by several U.S. and international organizations. There are different visions for a revised design and licensing framework applicable to advanced (i.e. Generation III “Plus” and IV) reactors. The dominant visions are represented by activities underway at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), at two gas cooled reactor vendors and by the American Nuclear Society (ANS). To support development of a revised framework, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) conducted research to identify and assess specific elements of possible technology neutral, risk-informed, performance based frameworks; to develop a preliminary integrated reference framework based on the results of this evaluation; and to provide recommendations in areas where additional development and testing would appear to be most beneficial. In the research discussed in this paper the key features of these various proposed frameworks were reviewed and combined into an integrated reference framework. This integrated reference framework includes elements that are intended to provide the roadmap for successfully designing and licensing an advanced reactor design if such an approach is used. The results of this research are being used to support Industry efforts to develop standards and guidance for advanced plants with safety characteristics which differ from existing and advanced LWRs.

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