European SMR Alliance2024-07-01T11:45:38+02:00

European SMR Alliance

SMR News & Updates

On May 29 and 30 in Brussels, the European Industrial Alliance on SMRs convened its first General Assembly meeting gathering about 240 in person and 140 online participants. The two-day event marked a key milestone in European efforts to develop and deploy the first SMR projects in Europe by the early 2030s. The primary purpose of the first General Assembly meeting was to agree on and validate the way forward for the Alliance regarding its strategic orientation, structure, governance, operational modalities, and next steps.

Discover the entirety of the event in our article bellow!

A dissemination event on the European Industrial Alliance on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) took place on 22 March 2024 organised by the European Commission, Nucleareurope and SNETP and attended by over 500 participants. Led by industry leaders and policymakers, the Alliance aims to accelerate the development and deployment of SMRs by the early 2030s, fostering collaboration and innovation in the field of clean energy.

Discover the full summary of the event now and for even more information, check out the following links!

The European Industrial Alliance on SMRs is now a reality : Be part of it & apply!

The European Industrial Alliance on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) is spearheading the accelerated development of safe and low-carbon SMR technologies by the early 2030s. Focused on collaborative efforts among key stakeholders, the alliance aims to fortify the nuclear supply chain, support specific SMR projects, and identify investment opportunities. This crucial initiative plays a pivotal role in #decarbonizing challenging sectors like transport, chemicals and steel.

In a keynote speech at the European Investment Bank Group Forum on 8 February 2024, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Maroš Šefčovič, underscored the importance of restoring technology neutrality for a sustainable energy future. Recognizing the role of low-carbon sources like hydrogen, he announced the launch of the European Industrial Alliance on SMRs in collaboration with Member States and industry. Šefčovič highlighted the potential of SMR technology in decarbonizing the energy sector and boosting energy security. He encourages financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank, to join the dialogue and collaborate with the private sector to foster the development of the SMR value chain in Europe, positioning Europe as a leader in this emerging technology.

Join the SMR Alliance: Open to public and private entities meeting criteria in the Terms of Reference, the alliance application process is ongoing until 12 April 2024. Find all the necessary information on the website of the European Comission.


A success story – From the SMR pre-Partnership to the European Industrial Alliance on SMRs

The European SMR Industrial Alliance stemmed from the 2022 SMR pre-Partnership, launched after a first workshop on small modular reactors (SMRs) organised by the European Commission in 2021. A vision paper proposed a collaborative European SMR Partnership, involving industrial stakeholders, research organizations, utilities, Member States, and policymakers. The overall goal is to to create conditions for the first European SMRs in the early next decade. Key stakeholders, including SNETP, nucleareurope, ENSREG, and the European Commission, collaborated on recommendations and key aspects for safe SMR operation aiming to contribute significantly to Europe’s Net Zero goal by 2050. In addition to SMRs, the Partnership also addressed Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) with technologies reducing radioactive waste and providing heat for industrial use. Its objectives included garnering support from national governments and European institutions to enhance the European SMR value chain, seize market opportunities, and compete globally.

The Partnership’s launch in 2022 included the creation of a Steering Committee (SC) during a pre-Partnership phase, providing general direction for drafting and implementing a roadmap to facilitate Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) development and deployment in Europe. As the process unfolded, other external stakeholders were actively integrated, enriching collaboration and ensuring diverse perspectives. Their contributions were particularly evident in the feedback received before the October 2023 Stakeholder Forum, where key challenges were discussed. The inclusive approach aimed to gather insights from a broad spectrum of participants, fostering a comprehensive understanding.

Another milestone was the announcement made by the European Commission in November 2023 in Bratislava, introducing the European Industrial Alliance on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), officially launched in February 2024. This strategic alliance is designed to facilitate collaboration among nuclear stakeholders, financial institutions, and investors. Its overarching objective is to position the European Union as a global leader in achieving technological maturity for SMRs, contributing to the EU’s path to climate neutrality by 2050. It holds the potential to decarbonize challenging sectors, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth across the EU. The published communication by the Commission envisions full decarbonization of the energy sector just after 2040, with various zero and low-carbon energy solutions, including nuclear.

The upcoming steps involve a call for Alliance membership, set to open shortly for eligible public and private entities. A dissemination event in Brussels in March 2024 will provide insights into the alliance’s scope, objectives, and activities.

Focus on the European Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) Stakeholders’ Forum

The “European Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) Stakeholders’ Forum” took place the 26 October 2023 in Brussels as the last step in the process of public scrutiny and validation of the results of the EU SMR pre-Partnership work. The pre-Partnership collaboration between the different stakeholders resulted in the publication of reports from all five pre-Partnership Workstreams in July 2023 and a stakeholders’ consultation from 17 July to 29 September 2023. This Forum was well attended by around 100 participants in the room from EU MS, industry, regulators, research organisations, NGOs, plus more than 150 persons following the event online.

ENER DG D. Juul-Jørgensen opened the Forum and was followed by presentations and discussions on the main outcomes of the European SMR pre-Partnership work and the recommendation to launch the EU SMR Partnership in the form of an industrial alliance on SMRs. The discussions showed a broad stakeholder consensus on the potential scope of such an industrial alliance to facilitate start of operations of such projects by early 2030s. They also pointed to issues that will need to be resolved for the success of such projects – in the supply chain, in pre-licensing and licensing processes, financing options, public acceptance, radioactive waste management, safeguards, etc. These topics could form the focal areas of the work of the possible industrial alliance. The Forum provided an opportunity for an open discussion on these topics, including from the perspective of environmental NGOs and regulators.

Objective, tasks and membership of the European SMR pre-Partnership

The objective of the European SMR pre-Partnership is to identify enabling conditions and constraints towards safe design, construction and operation of SMRs in Europe in the next decade and beyond in compliance with the EU legislative framework in general and to the Euratom legislative framework in particular.

Tasks

Five work-streams (WS) devoted to analysis of the market for SMRs, licencing issues, financing, supply chain adaptation and IR&D shall identify the abovementioned constraints and enabling conditions.

During 2022 and beyond, if necessary, the European SMR pre-Partnership SC should:

  • Review and validate the work program (main deliverables, schedule) for each WS
  • Ensure smooth coordination across WSs, set milestones and ensure proper conclusions / outcomes
  • Analyse potential constraints to overcome for the next phase (Partnership) and propose solutions (including policy recommendations at European / national level if needed);
  • Review enabling conditions for SMRs development in Europe and propose approaches to activate them or further develop them if necessary;
  • Prepare the conditions for the next phase (Partnership implementation phase) which shall cover all relevant aspects (legal, resources, ….) and the ground for the Partnership phase with proper benchmarking of other coalition initiatives at EU level (batteries, hydrogen, etc.);
  • Interact / report on progress made with the Stakeholder forum on a regular basis;
  • Coordinate relationships with international partners (such as UK, USA, CAN, JP, etc.) and international organisations (such as IAEA, OECD-NEA, etc.).

Deliverables

The main deliverables of the SC during the pre-Partnership phase will be:
  • The terms of reference and the work-plans (including specific objectives and milestones) for each WSs;
  • The necessary roadmap to prepare the creation of this “European SMR Partnership”;
  • Reports or analyses summarising the constraints and the enabling conditions in view of the safe design, construction and operation of SMRs in Europe in the next decade and beyond;
  • The preliminary governance and the legal framework for the establishment of the “European SMR Partnership”.

Membership

The SC is made of 9 members representing the involved parties and is assisted in its duties by a Secretariat as defined in article 9.
The SC is composed as follows:

  • One member from ENSREG,
  • One member from nucleareurope,
  • One member from SNETP,
  • One member from the European Commission
  • The nominated Chairs of the five WSs,

Workstreams

WS 1: Market integration and deployment

The main objectives of this WS would be to characterize the European markets and the export markets in a quantitative way i.e. to examine future market needs for SMRs (flexibility + system services, in a context of high RES deployment), competitiveness, SMRs as technology replacing coal plants, SMRs potential co-generation (non-power) applications for H2 production, desalination, district and process heating, etc. The deliverable will be quantitative market studies.

This WS would also address the question of public opinion on nuclear: how SMRs are perceived.

WS 2: Licensing

The main objectives of this WS would be to streamline nuclear safety pre-licensing processes in interested EU countries in a way that a same SMR design could comply without significant modifications with the regulations set by these different European nuclear regulatory authorities, without hampering their prerogatives. It would identify the elements for establishing a pre-licensing process based on commonly accepted safety assessments from different ENSREG members interested in the licensing of the same SMR design.

WS 3: Financing & partnership

The main objectives of this WS would be to explore and identify all possible options for financing European SMRs, from support to R&D developments, demonstrators up to industrial deployment, including EU and national instruments, (e.g. conditions for a Private Public Partnership at EU level) and to define the needs for a conducive investment environment / framework for SMRs in Europe.

WS 4: Supply Chain adaptation

The main objectives of this WS would be to identify specific needs for SMR manufacturing & designs, analyse standardisation potential of SMRs, analyse the potential use of Non-Nuclear standard components, identify ways to maximise new tools and methods in SMRs manufacture & through-life operation/I&M – digitalisation, novel techniques, etc. The work shall focus on the European supply chain.

WS 5: Innovation, Research & Development

The main objectives of this WS would be to define a comprehensive R&D&I strategic agenda and roadmap coherent with market needs, licensing requirements, supply chain readiness and sustainability for SMRs development and their use for various applications (Heat, Hydrogen, …). It should also identify the needed facilities to perform this programme, and set up a coherent and consistent training and education programme.

The different WSs should take into account, when relevant, the different international conventions applying to nuclear installations (e.g. Espoo, Aarhus, 3rd party nuclear liability (Paris and Vienna Conventions, and supplementary Conventions)) and other relevant EU legislations outside of the nuclear field (e.g. Environmental Impact Assessment Directive).

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