Small Modular Reactors

NuScale / SMR Makes History As First To Receive US Regulatory Design Approval

By David Dalton
31 August 2020

Company says US is leading race to bring new reactors to market
SMR Makes History As First To Receive US Regulatory Design Approval
A computer-generated image of a NuScale Small modular reactor facility. Courtesy NuScale.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed its Phase 6 review – the last and final phase – of the design certification application (DCA) for NuScale Power’s small modular reactor (SMR), the first time an SMR has received regulatory design approval.

US-based NuScale said the NRC had issued a final safety evaluation report (FSER), which represents completion of the technical review and approval of the NuScale Generation IV SMR design.

“With this final phase of NuScale’s DCA now complete, customers can proceed with plans to develop NuScale power plants with the understanding that the NRC has approved the safety aspects of the NuScale design,” the company said in a statement.

“This is a significant milestone not only for NuScale, but also for the entire US nuclear sector and the other advanced nuclear technologies that will follow,” NuScale said. “This clearly establishes the leadership of NuScale and the US in the race to bring SMRs to market.”

NuScale chairman and chief executive officer John Hopkins said the cost-shared funding provided by Congress over the past several years had accelerated NuScale’s advancement through the NRC design certification process. “This is what the DOE’s SMR programme was created to do and our success is credited to strong bipartisan support from Congress, he said.

NuScale’s DCA was completed in December 2016 and accepted by the NRC in March 2017. NuScale spent over $500m, with the backing of majority investor Fluor, to develop the information needed to prepare the application.

NuScale said it continues to maintain “strong programme momentum” toward commercialisation of its SMR technology, including supply chain development, standard plant design, planning of plant delivery activities, and startup and commissioning plans.

It has signed agreements with entities in the US, Canada, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Jordan. Similar agreements with other entities are being negotiated, the company said.

NuScale’s SMR design features a fully factory-fabricated NuScale power module capable of generating 60 MW of electricity using a safer, smaller, and scalable version of pressurised water reactor technology.

The company said the SMR’s scalable design – a power plant can house up to 12 individual power modules – offers the benefits of carbon-free energy and reduces the financial commitments associated with gigawatt-sized nuclear facilities.

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