ACEL Reaches Design Review Milestone for the Advanced CANDU Reactor ACR-1000

"The ACR-1000 is the nexus between CANDU and light water reactor technology," said Hugh MacDiarmid, President and Chief Executive Officer at AECL.

- Edited By Chris Reed –

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has finished Phase 3 of the Pre-Project Design Review of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's (AECL)  Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR-1000), making it the first advanced nuclear power reactor to have completed three phases of a vendor pre-project design review by the CNSC. ACR-1000

According to the Executive Summary released on Friday (and attached below), as a result of the third and final phase of the CNSC Vendor Pre-Project Design Review, the ACR-1000 meets Canada's nuclear regulator's expectations for new nuclear power plants in Canada. The CNSC findings indicate there are no fundamental barriers to licensing the reactor design in Canada.

"The ACR-1000 is the nexus between CANDU and light water reactor technology," said Hugh MacDiarmid, President and Chief Executive Officer at AECL. "It has the essential features of our proven CANDU reactors and is designed to offer improved operations and maintenance capacity as well as low and stable operating costs for our customers. We are pleased that the CNSC report endorses its design viability in the Canadian market."

The objective of a Vendor Pre-Project Design Review is to verify, at a high level, the acceptability of a nuclear reactor design with respect to Canadian safety requirements and expectations. To achieve this objective, CNSC staff assessed specific safety and security aspects of the ACR-1000 design to identify any potential technical issues that could constitute a potential fundamental barrier to licensing a new reactor design in Canada.

"Throughout the phase three review, AECL staff was open and transparent in sharing available information, responding diligently to every CNSC request for clarification and additional information," says CNSC President & CEO Michael Binder. "I am pleased to recognize the completion of the Phase 3 Pre-Project Design Review of the ACR-1000 for AECL."

In Phase 3, AECL requested that the CNSC review some specific aspects of Phase 2 findings for eleven review topics. CNSC assessed activities undertaken under these topics to further determine the readiness of the reactor design for licensing. The CNSC Phase 3 Vendor Pre-Project Design Review concluded:

  • AECL has provided sufficient design and analysis information for the purpose of this review;
  • AECL is progressing satisfactorily towards completion of a number of activities to resolve questions arising from CNSC's Phase 2 review; and
  • The progress made to date, and subject to the successful completion of the remaining planned activities, the specific items on each of the eleven topics covered in Phase 3 will be satisfactorily addressed within a reasonable timeframe.

The Phase 3 review has provided the CNSC staff a further opportunity to understand in greater detail various aspects of AECL's proposed safety case for the ACR-1000 design. This is of particular value for those aspects of the design and analysis which are new to the CNSC.

About the ACR-1000

The ACR-1000 is Atomic Energy of Canada’s evolutionary, Gen III+*, 1200 MWe class pressure tube reactor. It is a light water cooled, heavy water moderated pressure tube reactor derived from the well-established CANDU line. The ACR-1000 retains the basic, well-proven, features of the CANDU® plant design such as a modular, horizontal fuel channel core, a low-temperature heavy-water moderator, water-filled vault, two independent diverse shutdown systems, on-power fuelling and reactor building accessibility for on-power maintenance.

* Gen III+ is the classification given to nuclear technologies by an international team, including Canada, that is collaborating on the research to develop the next generation, Gen IV reactors. ACR-1000 is one of the technologies that are considered as a Generation III+ design.

AECL-Phase 3 Design Review Executive Summary.pdf

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