Regulation and Licensing

Australia has prior experience in the construction and operation of a 20 MW research reactor at the facilities of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights near Sydney.

Before SMRs can be developed for commercial electricity generation in Australia, the following steps must be satisfactorily completed:

1. The selected SMR plant must successfully complete a detailed technical review in its country of origin, resulting in the issue of design certification from the regulatory authority in the country of origin.

2. There must be Australian legislation to authorise the licencing and construction of nuclear power reactors.

3. Either the existing authority ARPANSA (the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Authority) or a new nuclear regulator must be authorised to grant these licences.

4. A low level radioactive waste facility should be authorised and established in Australia.

5. All necessary government approvals must be applied for and granted for the installation and operation of nuclear power reactors at suitable sites.

Any reactor design with design certification in its country of origin would still have to be licensed in Australia by the Australian regulator, although the regulator should be able to utilise technical assessments completed in the country of origin.

Extensive support and guidance in establishing a commercial nuclear power program are available from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).