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Safety assessment at every stage of the plant life cycle

In the planning stage, no actions directly coupled to detail design, safety analysis or licensing processes are initiated. Instead, preparatory investigations aiming at clarifying certain technical issues or removing basic concerns beforehand are performed.

The objective of concept studies is e.g. to analyze on conceptual level whether the design of a specific nuclear facility would comply with the applicable safety requirements. The level of the technical information in concept studies would usually be based on conceptual design. This reflects the purpose of such studies which would be to demonstrate in princible that the project under consideration would be licensable. Furthermore, concept studies could be used to identify technical issues requiring specific attention in the further course, either in preparation of the project or as a supporting measure during the ensuing design, safety analysis or licensing processes.

Feasibility studies serve to identify the potential of a specific nuclear facility to be realized or not. They are performed to justify a "go-or-no-go" decision with respect to a specific project. In compliance with the objective of feasibility studies, the level of detail of the technical information might even be below that of a conceptual study.

Key licensing issues

In the aforementioned concept and feasibility studies, issues of specific significance for the ensuing licensing process could be identified and subject to further detailed investigations. These key licensing issues are typical for novel plant designs, e.g. for first-of-a-kind plants, and should be resolved before the actual licensing process is initiated. At a minimum, the way forward should be undisputable. Otherwise, licensing and the implementation of the licensed scope in the further scope of product realization would become unnecessarily complex and complicated.

As license is not granted in the planning stage, the safety assessment services during this stage are not pre-license activities. Accordingly, reviews and inspections to be understood as post-license activities are not performed in the planning stage.