Advanced Nuclear Working Group


Chair: Jeff Merrifield, Pillsbury
Vice-Chair: Peter Hastings, Kairos Power
Senior Fellow: Cyril Draffin, USNIC

Mission Statement

The USNIC Advanced Nuclear Working Group actively supports the development, demonstration, regulation, and deployment of multiple Advanced Nuclear technologies, including fission and fusion reactors. Advanced nuclear energy can be a key provider of clean energy in the electric utility and industrial sectors by the 2030s, and have a national and international impact on reducing carbon emissions to enhance knowledge and understanding, the USNIC Advanced Nuclear Working Group proactively addresses technology, regulatory, government, and market issues affecting the deployment of these advanced technologies -- and facilitates presentations, conferences, position papers, and meetings for industry, government agencies, citizens, and potential customers. Recognizing the growing importance of regulation of advanced nuclear reactors, the Part 53 Task Force was established as a component of the Advanced Nuclear Working Group.

Working Group Scope of Interest

• Development and deployment of Advanced Reactors, including nuclear fission Non-Light Water Reactors, Small Modular Reactors, and Microreactors
• Regulatory issues for Advanced Reactors (including with U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, NRC Agreement States, and European and other international nuclear regulators)
• Demonstration and technology support programs of U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, and Canadian government for Advanced Nuclear
• U.S. and Canadian electrical power and industrial commercial market planning for advanced nuclear deployment
• Fusion developments (including technology development and demonstration, regulatory issues, and potential market applications)
• Coordination with other USNIC Working Groups: Fuel Cycle Working Group– HALEU and other fuels, and non-proliferation
• International & Finance Working Group– financing of advanced nuclear, international advanced nuclear commercial markets, joint efforts with World Nuclear Association/IAEA, and USNIC international trade missions
• Technology Development Working Group– space applications for nuclear energy
• Advanced Manufacturing, Construction and Decommissioning Working Group–construction licensing regulations

Working Group Activities

• Monthly member meetings• Stakeholder input at NRC Advanced Reactor Stakeholder meetings
• Annual Advanced Reactor Summits, e.g., 2021 virtual Summit VIII on 23-25 March, and 2020 Summit VII in Knoxville, TN in February attended by over 300 people
• Annual member survey on advanced nuclear
• Presentations and position papers for government agencies
• Meeting notes and breaking news to USNIC members
• Coordinates with Part 53 Task Force
• Advanced Nuclear Working Group has approximately 70 members

Part 53 Task Force

The USNIC Part 53 Task Force was established in 2020 as a component of the Advanced Nuclear Working Group. The mission of the Part 53 Task Force is to address issues regarding the NRC’s planned 10 CFR Part 53 rulemaking for “Licensing and Regulation of Advanced Nuclear Reactors” so that it can be a useful and efficient licensing path for Advanced Reactor developers. The Part 53 Task Force is focused on NRC plans to develop a technology-inclusive, risk-informed regulatory framework that provides predictability, stability, and flexibility to accommodate diverse technologies.

Part 53 Task Force Activities

• Meetings in advance of USNIC Part 53 presentations and submissions to the NRC and the NRC Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS)’s Future Plant Designs Subcommittee Meeting.
• Drafts comments and makes presentations to NRC Public meetings to highlight industry’s positions on proposed rule language and its potential impacts for licensing advanced reactors.
• Drafts proposed regulatory language and guidance, when appropriate, to suggest alternative approaches to rule structure and minimize unnecessary regulatory burden.
• Keeps up with current NRC thinking and proposed language.
• Meeting notes and breaking news to Task Force members.
• Coordinates with the Nuclear Energy Institute and other industry groups.
• Part 53 Task Force has over 25 members.