NRC Completes First Phase Of SMR Review -- A First

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has completed the first and most intensive phase of review for NuScale Power’s design certification application (DCA), the company announced Monday.

NuScale designNuScale’s design is the first small modular reactor (SMR) application to ever undergo NRC review, an achievement that brings NuScale Power closer to introducing the country’s first SMR to market and places the country on a "path to beat foreign competitors like Russia and China at a global SMR race," NuScale pronounced.

The NRC is expected to certify NuScale’s design, the company said, noting that the first customer for the SMR technology, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, is planning a 12-module SMR plant in Idaho slated for operation by the mid-2020s.

The NRC spent approximately 15,000 hours reviewing the DCA. As a sidebar, the company said the regulator "issued far fewer requests for additional information compared to other design certification applications." That relatively few number of extra information requests attests to the simplicity of the company's SMR design and to the quality of the application, said NuScale.

“Our technology means significant economic and job benefits for the country and it’s positioned to revitalize the domestic nuclear industry by virtue of NuScale’s affordable, flexible, and safe solution to providing zero-carbon energy,” said NuScale Power Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins. 

In a sign of continued support for the design, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy awarded NuScale $40 million in cost-sharing financial assistance under its “U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development” funding opportunity. The federal award supports early-stage research and development and the industry’s acceleration of these technologies to promote U.S. energy independence, energy dominance, electricity grid resiliency, national security, and clean baseload power.

NuScale Power, LLC is developing a modular light water reactor nuclear power plant. The model is designed as a fully factory fabricated SMR capable of generating 50MW of power using a "safer, smaller, and scalable version of pressurized water reactor technology," said NuScale. The company envisions a power plant that houses up to 12 individual power modules side by side for a combined 600MW system. This offers the benefits of carbon-free nuclear power at a reduced price compared with "gigawatt-sized nuclear facilities," said Nuscale. 

Fluor Corporation is NuScale's major investor.

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