About this Project

A little bit of this project’s history


The motivation that induced the proposal for this Project is found in the combination of three important drivers or concepts:

  • The Climate and Environmental challenges

    that guide the energy transition, where nuclear energy can play an important role in the world’s future ambitions and energy needs.

  • The Supercritical Water (SCW) technology

    which is considered as one of the six advanced reactor designs by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and has provided several advances in the recent years having been implemented in several modern conventional fossil powered plants.

  • The Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology

    which provides many potential advantages like small and simpler reactors which are expected to reduce the impact of capital costs, provide flexibility in power generation and non-electric applications together with safety performance through passive systems and features.

Integrating these concepts together, after addressing proposals for funding opportunities in 2016 and 2018, finally an International Consortium of entities from Europe, Canada and China has now come together under the ECC-SMART Project (which has received funding from the European Commission) to work further on these concepts and advance in their associated challenges.

The ECC-SMART Project, which began in September 2020, is oriented towards assessing the feasibility and identification of safety features of an intrinsically and passively safe small modular reactor cooled by supercritical water (SCW-SMR), taking into account specific knowledge gaps related to the future licensing process and implementation of this technology.

The main objectives of the project are to define the design requirements for the future SCW-SMR technology, to develop the pre-licensing study and guidelines for the demonstration of the safety in the further development stages of the SCW-SMR concept including the methodologies and tools to be used and to identify the key obstacles for the future SMR licensing and propose strategy for this process.

The ECC-SMART project is a unique opportunity gathering the world-wide scientific efforts and focus them to the ovearll objective – to prepare the environment for future SCW-SMR licensing and industrial implementation. How we intend on doing this is explained in further detail below!


The ECC-SMART Project

started in September 2020 and will last 4 years. During this time, the institutions of the Consortium will work hard to conduct activities, research, experiments, and analysis that address the established Project objectives and we shall keep you posted on the main advancements through the news posts of this website and other Project events.

The main objective of the project is to provide science-based recommendations, methodologies for performing safety evaluations and safety improvements fostering the safety standards, including the experimental validation of essential items for safety demonstrations related to the SCW-SMR. The activities of the project will lead to deriving the most economical safety-driven supercritical water cooled (SCW) – small modular reactor (SMR) design requirements by identifying adequate solutions to key technical issues which drive cost and safety and their influence to the future licensing process. Important feature for the project is also the ambition to increase the level of knowledge as well as the interest of the industrial partners and demonstrate the benefits of the SCW-SMR concept. These general objectives will be specifically reached by the following objectives divided into 3 groups:

  • – the technical,
  • – the licensing-related, and
  • – the strategic.
  1. To define the design requirements for the future SCW-SMR technology. Collect all experience from design studies in Europe, Canada and China to derive a joint design requirement document, which can fulfill the following design target:
    1. The electric power output of the SMR should be around 200 to 300 MW.
    2. The specific plant erection costs (€/kW installed electric power) should be less 20% compared with SMR concepts based on a PWR.
    3. The power plant shall remove the residual heat without the need of electric power at least within a time period of 3 days.
    4. The specific fuel cost (€/MWh electric power) shall be smaller than those of SMR concepts based on a PWR, which may be accomplished by a higher efficiency compensating higher fuel production costs.
  2. Complete the understanding of the corrosion behaviour of the most promising candidate materials at different conditions to support the qualification procedure of the future SCW-SMR constructional materials and assess the relation to the existing standards and guidelines
  3. Provide Reactor physics analysis of preliminary core layouts
  4. Verification and validation and further development of the selected thermo-hydraulic system-, subchannel-, safety-, and CFD-codes and assessment of the proposed SMR-SCWR concepts by applying these codes
  1. Harmonization and fostering of the trans-continental cooperation in the advanced nuclear technology to gain the most effective multi-national scientific and technical cooperation and gather the knowledge relevant to the SCW-SMR development.
  2. Harmonization of the laboratory procedures and tools for effective research and development in the field of SCW-SMR environment.
  3. To keep and support the EURATOM to be active member of the multinational scientific platforms related to the SCWR/SMR-SCWR research.
  4. Organize the events providing the interaction with regulatory bodies, vendors, operators and other end-users to spread the information of the SMR (especially the SCWR).
  1. Develop pre-licensing study and guidelines for the demonstration of the safety in the further development stages of the SCW-SMR concept.
  2. Identify the key obstacles for the future SMR licensing and propose strategy for this process based on the findings on multinational level

Structure and Organisation

Work Packages

The Consortium is initially formed by 19 Institutions from Europe, Canada and China (click here to view them all) The objectives will be tackled by organizing the associated activities into Work Packages (WP), which group the fundamental areas of the Project. Below a description of each one is provided:

This WP will be dedicated to project coordination. This includes all internal management activities from planning to follow up of Project Meetings and decisions

This WP will address material issues of the SCW-SMR (with a quite large test program) and will cover development and validation activities for corrosion evaluation under SCW environments.

This WP will address analytical, numerical and experimental evaluation of relevant thermal-hydraulic correlations and models in SCW and specifically the safety concepts of the SCW-SMR.

This WP will analyse the neutron physics of the SCW-SMR, which is strongly coupled to WP3 and WP2.

This WP will summarize the results and conclusions of the WPs 2, 3 and 4 and based on these and existing safety guidelines will define science-based guidelines for the demonstration of the safety of the proposed SCW-SMR concept, identifying any potential gaps or challenges and proposing a strategy to address them.

This WP covers all activities related to communication about the project and its content and dissemination of its advances. Activities of WP6 include, amongst others, the organization of workshops, training courses and symposia on the project content.

Although the majority of the Institutions collaborate in several activities within a WP or more, for the purpose of adequately managing the evolution of the Project, each WP is led by one institution (aka the Work Package Leader). Proper planification towards the consecution of the main milestones within each WP particularly requires a combined management between WPs in this Project. Developing a conceptual design of a SCW-SMR (like for any nuclear reactor) requires that all technical areas approach the task hand in hand, agreeing on the targets and compromises required to advance (it is a highly interdependent and iterative process!)