Boiling water reactors and nuclear safety

Boiling water reactors (BWRs) use light water as a coolant and a moderator. This water is converted to steam in the core and then passes through a turbine.

BWRs represent around 15% of the world’s nuclear energy capacity. Due to their specific design, they present unique challenges and opportunities for both operators and regulators.

NEA work on this topic

The Working Party on Boiling Water Reactors (WPBWR) covers all boiling-water reactors, including advanced BWRs (ABWRs) and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). The WPBWR is responsible for establishing: 1) an international forum to exchange information and experience specifically on regulation issues regarding BWRs, including those in design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning; 2) a way to identify international safety challenges within BWRs to share national perspectives; and 3) a range of appropriate opportunities for international collaboration on regulatory activities related to BWRs that will lead to improvements in nuclear safety.