Nuclear power continues to be a significant contributor to carbon-free electric generation around the world. Reactor designs are now being developed for advanced reactors, such as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and microreactors, that are vastly different than the current generation of Light Water Reactors. Providing consensus standards that support the design, operation and regulation of these emerging reactor technologies is vital to bringing these developing energy systems to the point where they are available to produce electric power in the relatively near future. The PES Nuclear Power Engineering Committee (NPEC) is one of several standards development organizations that provide standards related to the nuclear industry. These include the American Nuclear Society (ANS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) among a number of others. NPEC is responsible for developing and maintaining nuclear power plant standards in the electrical and electronic area that are used around the world in the nuclear power industry. To date NPEC has no standards specific to advanced reactors but has focused on making its standards reactor technology neutral to the extent possible and identifying specific standards needed to support advanced reactor development.
NPEC progress on advanced reactor standards is impeded by a number of challenges that include: (1) lack of experience with advanced reactors to achieve a consensus standard, (2) most members of the committee and subcommittees are practitioners in the current power industry and not in research related firms, (3) integration of NPEC’s efforts with other standard development organizations to avoid overlaps and be most effective with resources available and (4) the time required to publish a new standard, which may not be supportive of current advanced reactor development efforts. Over the past year NPEC has been engaged in a number of nuclear industry activities as a key standards development organization to support advanced reactors. Some relevant information from these activities is identified below.
NPEC is actively seeking individuals who are involved with advanced reactor research, design, development and regulation to participate in its subcommittees and working groups. Information regarding NPEC’s organizations and upcoming meetings as well as contact information can be on the IEEE PES Nuclear Power Engineering Committee website.