Monday, March 20, 2023

U.S. NRC certifies NuScale Power’s small modular reactor design

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued its final rule in the Federal Register, paving the way to certify NuScale Power’s small modular reactor. The company’s power module became the first SMR design certified by the NRC and just the seventh reactor design cleared for use in the United States.

The published rule making allows utilities to reference NuScale’s SMR design when applying for a combined license to build and operate a reactor. The design is an advanced light-water SMR with each power module capable of generating 50 megawatts of emissions-free electricity.

NuScale VOYGR SMR power plant can house up to 12 factory-built power modules that are about a third of the size of a large-scale reactor. Each power module leverages natural processes, such as convection and gravity, to passively cool the reactor without additional water, power, or even operator action.

NuScale is currently seeking an uprate to enable each module to generate up to 77 megawatts. The NRC is expected to review its application this year.

Since 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy has provided more than $600 million to support the design, licensing, and siting of NuScale’s VOYGR SMR power plant and similar advanced reactor concepts to mature the technology.

The DOE and NuScale are currently working with the utility Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build and demonstrate a NuScale VOYGR plant with six modules collectively able to generate 462 MW at Idaho National Laboratory. The first module is expected to come online in 2029, with full plant operation the following year.

UAMPS finished subsurface field investigation activities at the proposed INL site and expects to submit a combined license application to the NRC in the first quarter of 2024.

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