Advanced Reactor Deployment: U.S. Safeguards And Security Challenges

Benjamin Cipiti - Sandia National Laboratories
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The U.S. Department of Energy established the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) in 2020 to help support initial deployment of advanced reactors in the United States. The Advanced Reactor Safeguards (ARS) program area was established as part of ARDP to help address near term challenges that vendors face in meeting domestic Material Control and Accountability (MC&A) and Physical Protection System (PPS) regulatory requirements. The ARS program seeks to remove roadblocks to solve regulatory challenges, utilize the latest technologies and approaches, and optimize safeguards and security costs. Many of the challenges in the U.S. stem from regulatory requirements that were built around large light water reactors. Often, existing MC&A and PPS requirements are not applicable to small reactors and different designs. The program focuses on six key challenge areas for advanced reactors: develop a robust and cost appropriate PPS, help solve high assay low enrichment uranium regulatory issues, develop MC&A approaches for pebble bed reactors, determine MC&A and PPS requirements for microreactors, develop MC&A approaches for molten salt reactors, and leverage international interfaces. Research conducted in the ARS program helps vendors with these aspects of their designs and promotes Safeguards and Security by Design. In addition, the work helps inform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and new rulemaking that applies to these types of reactors. Initial findings and lessons learned will be presented in addition to ongoing work.