Small Modular Reactors

NuScale / US Regulator Completes Fourth Phase Of SMR Design Review

By David Dalton
13 December 2019

Company says 'milestone' reached towards commercialisation
US Regulator Completes Fourth Phase Of SMR Design Review
NuScale power module mock-up. Courtesy NuScale
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed the fourth phase of its review of the design certification application for NuScale Power’s revolutionary small modular reactor.

NuScale, based in the US state of Oregon, said it had reached this milestone on schedule, marking “a significant achievement” on the way to commercialisation of the 60-MW light-water reactor unit.

NuScale’s technology is the first and only SMR to undergo design certification review by the NRC. The company said this latest announcement shows how close it is to bringing the country’s first SMR into production and operation and “putting the US on the path to beating foreign competitors in the global SMR race”.

The entire review of the design is now in phases five and six. Phase four of the review represents completion of the advanced safety evaluation report (SER). Completion of phase four is significant because it signifies near-completion of the technical review.

Phase five entails a review by the NRC’s advisory committee on reactor safeguards, an independent advisor to the NRC that reviews and reports on safety studies and reactor facility licence and licence renewal applications.

Phase six is preparation of the final SER, which will incorporate confirmatory items from the phase four advanced SER and comments raised by the advisory committee on reactor safeguards in phase five.

NuScale’s first customer will be Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a non-profit state utility which is planning a 12-module NuScale SMR plant in Idaho scheduled for operation by the mid-2020s.

NuScale has signed agreements to explore the deployment of its technology in Canada, Jordan, the Czech Republic, and Romania. Similar agreements are being discussed with other potential customers, the company said.

NuScale has taken steps to build its supply chain, signing preliminary agreements with companies that will offer technical expertise and manufacture components. The most recent of these include Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd and Sargent and Lundy, both of which provided a cash investment in NuScale.

The NuScale plant is a modular light-water reactor unit designed to supply energy for electrical generation, district heating, desalination, and other process heat applications. It features a fully factory-fabricated module capable of generating 60 MW of electricity. The design is scalable, which means a power plant can house up to 12 individual power modules.

The majority investor in NuScale is Fluor Corporation, the Texas-based engineering, procurement and construction company.

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