In a major step toward the deployment of the next generation of advanced nuclear technology, NuScale Power asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Dec. 31, 2016, to approve the company’s small modular reactor (SMR) commercial power plant design. This is the first-ever SMR DCA to be submitted to the NRC, according to NuScale.
The SMRs are meant to supply affordable, clean, reliable power in scalable plants whose facility output can be incrementally increased depending on demand. Its operational flexibility is also complementary to other zero-carbon sources like wind and solar. Once approved, global demand for NuScale plants will create thousands of jobs during manufacturing, construction and operation, and re-establish U.S. global leadership in nuclear technology, paving the way for U.S. NRC approval and subsequent deployment of other advanced nuclear technologies.
NuScale’s application consisted of nearly 12,000 pages of technical information. The NRC is expected to take the next two months to determine if any additional information is required prior to commencing their review. Thereafter, the NRC has targeted completing the certification process within 40 months.
“We reached this tremendous milestone through the efforts of more than 800 people over eight years,” said NuScale COO and CNO Dale Atkinson. “We have documented, in extensive detail, the design conceived by Dr. Jose Reyes more than a decade ago. We are confident that we have submitted a comprehensive and quality application, and we look forward to working with the NRC during its review.”
The first commercial 12-module NuScale power plant is planned to be built on the site of the Idaho National Laboratory. It will be owned by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and run by an experienced nuclear operator, Energy Northwest.
As U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz has previously said, “Small modular reactors represent a new generation of safe, reliable, low-carbon nuclear energy technology and provide a strong opportunity for America to lead this emerging global industry.” As the sole winner of the second round of the DOE’s competitively-bid cost-sharing program for SMR technology development, NuScale is the only SMR developer currently receiving DOE financial support.