NuScale Finds 20% More Power In SMR Design

Small modular reactor (SMR) developer NuScale said Wednesday it had discovered 20 percent more power than originally planned in the SMR it is developing.

NuScale SMR"Advanced testing and modeling tools helped NuScale identify optimization opportunities and increased power generation," the company said in a statement.

The company said Increasing the power generating capacity of a 12-module power plant by 20 percent using the NuScale concept could be done with very minimal change in capital costs. Furthermore, the increase lowers the cost of the facility on a per kilowatt basis from an expected $5,000 to approximately $4,200, the company said.

It also lowers NuScale’s levelized cost of electricity by up to 18 percent, making it even more competitive with other electricity generation sources. The new gross-output of a NuScale power plant to 720 MWe from a previous expectation of 600 carbon free MWe, adds to the savings expected when compared to a traditionally sized commercial power reactor. 

“This new development is yet another way NuScale is changing the SMR game and pioneering this technology in the United States,” said Doug Hunter, chief executive officer Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), NuScale's first customer, for whom the company is developing its prototype SMR with the expectations of creating a 12-module plant. 

“This substantial reduction in cost per kilowatt is not only incredibly good news for the country’s first SMR plant, which we are thrilled to be deploying, but also because it will increase the value of our plant over time," Hunter said.

From a regulatory standpoint, the 20 percent uprate will be reviewed separately from the original design of the company's SMR. It will not impact the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) current design review of NuScale’s SMR or the scheduled September 2020 approval date of its Design Certification Application (DCA), the company said.

"Since NuScale has made this determination before any plant construction or equipment manufacture, UAMPS will reap the benefit of this optimization without licensing or construction delays."

In January, the NRC agreed NuScale’s SMR design approach required no safety-related power to safely shut down, a first for a nuclear plant design in the United States.

The NRC has completed its Phase 1 review of NuScale’s DCA. NuScale’s first plant will be operational in the mid-2020s, the company said.

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