Updates from the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP)

Multinational Design Evaluation Program (MDEP) Policy Group meeting, 22 October 2020

The Multinational Design Evaluation Program (MDEP) Policy Group held its annual meeting on 22 October 2020 to discuss the status of ongoing MDEP work, plans for future restructuring and interest in co-operating on EPR operating experience under a different framework outside the MDEP membership.

MDEP is a unique multinational initiative being conducted by the nuclear regulators of Argentina, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the participation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in order to co-operate on safety design reviews of new reactors and to identify opportunities for harmonisation and convergence of safety licensing review practices and requirements.

MDEP includes five design-specific working groups (EPR, AP1000, APR1400, VVER and HPR1000) and one issue-specific working group on vendor inspection co-operation. The AP1000, APR1400 and EPR working groups are currently focusing on reviewing lessons learnt from commissioning, construction and early phase operations. While these three working groups are to complete their programmes of work by the end of 2021, the VVER and HPR1000 groups will continue working under a new streamlined MDEP governance structure to be implemented at the start of 2022.

The Vendor Inspection Co-operation Working Group (VICWG) recently completed a successful multinational vendor inspection at Equipos Nucleares SA (ENSA) in Spain and is initiating various cross-cutting activities related to supply chain topics that are applicable to both operating and new reactors. The MDEP Policy Group encouraged the VICWG to prepare for the transition of its activities to a more appropriate framework under the NEA auspices, such as the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA).

During this meeting, the MDEP Policy Group also decided to postpone the Fifth MDEP Conference on New Reactor Design Activities. The event will now be held in November 2021 in Hangzhou, China.

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