Pre-Licensing Vendor Design Review


A Pre-Licensing Vendor Design Review is an optional service provided by the CNSC when requested by a vendor.

A pre-licensing vendor design review is an assessment of a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor's reactor technology. The assessment is completed by the CNSC, at the request of the vendor. The words “pre-licensing” signifies that a design review is undertaken prior to the submission of a licence application to the CNSC by an applicant seeking to build and operate a new nuclear power plant.

This review does not certify a reactor design or involve the issuance of a licence under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, and it is not required as part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant. The conclusions of any design review do not bind or otherwise influence decisions made by the Commission.

The objective of a review is to verify, at a high level, the acceptability of a nuclear power plant design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations, as well as Canadian codes and standards. These reviews also identify fundamental barriers to licensing a new design in Canada and assures that a resolution path exists for any design issues identified in the review.

A vendor who has completed a phase 2 pre-licensing vendor design review, has committed to increased regulatory efficiencies at the time of licensing. The results of Phase 2 will be taken into account mainly for the Construction Licence Application and is likely to result in increased efficiencies of technical reviews.

The reviews take place in three phases, each of which is conducted against related CNSC regulatory documents and Canadian codes & standards:

Phase 1: Pre-Licensing Assessment of Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: This phase involves an overall assessment of the vendor's nuclear power plant design against the most recent CNSC design requirements for new nuclear power plants in Canada as indicated in REGDOC-2.5.2, Design Of Reactor Facilities: Nuclear Power Plants or Design of Small Reactor Facilities (RD-367) as applicable, as well as all other related CNSC regulatory documents and Canadian codes & standards.

Phase 2: Pre-Licensing Assessment for Any Potential Fundamental Barriers to Licensing: This phase goes into further details with a focus on identifying any potential fundamental barriers to licensing the vendor's nuclear power plant design in Canada.

Phase 3 Follow-up: This phase allows the vendor to follow-up on certain aspects of Phase 2 findings by:

  • seeking more information from the CNSC about a Phase 2 topic; and/or
  • asking the CNSC to review activities taken by the vendor towards the reactor's design readiness, following the completion of Phase 2.

For more Information on the CNSC's Pre-licensing Vendor Design Review, please refer to  GD-385, Pre-licensing Review of a Vendor's Reactor Design.

Status of Pre-licensing Vendor Design Reviews

Participating vendors and their review completion dates are outlined below. Please note that planned completion dates for current reviews may be adjusted as needed by mutual agreement.

Current pre-licensing vendor design reviews

The following table presents an overview of vendors who have applied for pre-licensing engagement with the CNSC using the vendor design review process for their new reactor designs. Vendor design review is described in guidance document GD-385, Pre-licensing Review of a Vendor's Reactor Design. The duration of each review is estimated based on the vendor’s proposed schedule. A Phase 1 review typically takes 12–18 months and a Phase 2 review takes 24 months.

At the end of the review for each phase, an executive summary of the project report will be posted on this Web page.

Vendor Name of design and cooling type Approximate electrical capacity (MW electrical) Applied for Review start date Status
Terrestrial Energy Inc. IMSR
Integral Molten Salt Reactor
200 Phase 1 April 2016 Phase 1 complete
Phase 2 December 2018

Phase 2 assessment in progress

NuScale Power, LLC NuScale
Pressurized Water Reactor
50 Phase 2* April 1, 2019 Service agreement signed. Assessment pending
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation / Global First Power MMR-5 and MMR-10 High Temperature Gas 5-10 Phase 1 December 2016 Phase 1 complete
Phase 2 Pending PHASE 2 Service Agreement in place – Project start pending
Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC eVinci Micro Reactor Solid core and heat pipes Various outputs up to 25 MWe Phase 2* Pending early 2019 Service agreement under development
LeadCold Nuclear Inc. SEALER
Molten Lead
3  Phase 1 January 2017 Phase 1 on hold at vendor's request
Advanced Reactor Concepts Ltd. ARC-100
Liquid Sodium
100  Phase 1 Fall 2017 Assessment in progress
URENCO U-Battery
High-Temperature Gas
4  Phase 1 To be determined Service agreement under development
Moltex Energy Moltex Energy Stable Salt Reactor

Molten Salt
300 Series Phase 1 and 2 December 2017 Phase 1 assessment in progress
SMR, LLC. (A Holtec International Company) SMR-160 Pressurized Light Water 160 Phase 1 July 2018 Assessment in progress
StarCore Nuclear StarCore Module
High-Temperature Gas
10 Series Phase 1 and 2 To be determined Service agreement under development

*Phase 1 objectives will be addressed within the Phase 2 scope of work.

For questions about vendor design review, contact

Completed vendor pre-licensing vendor design reviews

Note: Due to the commercially sensitive and proprietary information in the full report, the CNSC is only able to post the Executive Summaries.

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation – MMR:

Terrestrial Energy Inc. – IMSR 400:

AECL – ACR-1000:


Candu Energy* – EC 6 (Enhanced CANDU):

* On October 2, 2011, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. acquired certain assets of AECL's commercial operations. The business operates as a wholly owned subsidiary called Candu Energy Inc.

Westinghouse – AP1000:

Cancelled pre-licensing vendor design reviews


  • Phase 1 Review terminated effective December 27, 2012

Need more information?

If you require further information, contact the CNSC.

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