The UK government has committed to achieving “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050. Nuclear power is expected to play an important role in this undertaking. Therefore delivering new safe and cost efficient nuclear technologies is seen as essential by both the UK Government and industry. Included in these new nuclear technology are small modular Generation VI reactors, referred to as Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs). It has previously been identified that there is currently no clear route to demonstrating the structural integrity of such high temperature reactors to the UK regulator, with known short falls in the available codes and standards.
Therefore EDF, Rolls-Royce and the National Nuclear Laboratory have collaborated to deliver the “Establishing AMR Structural Integrity Codes and Standards for UK GDA” (EASICS) project (part funded by the UK Government). This project looks to provide guidance on how existing design codes (such as RCC-MRx and ASME Section III Division 5) and assessment methodologies (such as R5 and R6) can be used to demonstrate the integrity of design within a UK regulatory framework. In addition, the project looks to make technological advancements in a number of key areas to address some known shortfalls in the available design codes and standards. These include 1) probabilistic design, 2) thin section defect tolerance and 3) creep-fatigue behaviour.
This paper provides a summary of the current findings and an overview of the planned activities regarding Codes and Standards aspects of the project. This includes a review of the challenges within a UK regulatory framework for high temperature plant, key differences between available high temperature design codes and assessment methodologies, operational experience of high temperature nuclear reactors and key shortfalls in the available codes and standards. It will finally provide a description of what the final EASICS guidance document will be expected to contain when delivered in 2021.