The US nuclear authority approves the first small modular reactor design. On December 31, 2016, NuScale filed an application with the NRC for certification of the company’s small modular reactor design, which uses natural passive processes such as convection and gravity in its operating systems and safety features. The plant would consist of up to 12 pressurized water reactor modules submerged in a safety pool built below ground level.
The reactor’s final safety evaluation report (FSER) — the first ever FSER the NRC has issued for an SMR — was issued in August 2020. November 25 is the regulator’s timeline for publication of the final rule.
Development of NuScale‘s small modular reactor
NuScale Power is developing a nuclear power technology that uses small modular reactors (SMRs) to provide safe, clean, and reliable baseload electricity. NuScale’s SMR design provides many advantages over traditional designs, including lower construction costs, reduced operating expenses, increased safety, and greater flexibility.
Components of NuScale’s modular reactor
The NuScale Modular Reactor (NRM) consists of three basic components: the reactor vessel, the control assembly, and the steam generators. The NRM operates at higher temperatures than current commercial reactors, resulting in less need for expensive materials and processes. In addition, the smaller size of the NRM makes it easier to handle and transport, reducing the risk of accidents.
How Does NRM Produce Electricity?
To produce electricity, the NRM contains uranium fuel rods that generate heat as they undergo fission. The heat produced by the fuel rods is transferred to water flowing through the core, generating steam that drives turbines. These turbines then convert the kinetic energy of the moving water into electrical energy.
How Long Does NRM Design Safely Work?
The NRM is designed to operate safely for 60 years or longer. Its primary purpose is to supply base load power, producing enough electricity to meet peak demands while maintaining stable prices.
Expected Cost Of NRM
The NRM is expected to cost about $10 billion per unit to build and operate.
Where Is NRM Installed?
The first two units of the NuScale SMR were built at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and began operation in 2016. The third unit was completed in 2018. Each unit is approximately 300 feet long and weighs approximately 1 million pounds.