NuScale Power of Portland, Oregon, said Monday that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed the second and third phases of its review of NuScale’s design for a small modular nuclear reactor, and the NRC is on track to complete the design review by September 2020.
This could be important to Oak Ridge because small modular reactors are possible at the Clinch River Nuclear Site in west Oak Ridge, although there are additional approvals that would be required.
The completion of the second and third phases of the NuScale design review is six weeks ahead of schedule, the company said in a press release on Monday.
“Completing phases 2 and 3 of the NRC’s design review certification process is a critical milestone for our company and the advanced nuclear industry,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins.
It is the world’s first and only small modular reactor, or SMR, to undergo design certification review by the NRC, NuScale said.
“Today’s major announcement brings NuScale closer to bringing the country’s first SMR to market, putting the U.S. on a path to beat foreign competitors like Russia and China in a global SMR race,” NuScale said.
No potential design has been selected for the Oak Ridge site, and no permits have been issued. The Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors has also not yet approved building small modular reactors in Oak Ridge. But the NRC is currently reviewing an early site permit application for the Clinch River Nuclear Site submitted by TVA, and a public hearing has been scheduled for August 14 in Rockville, Maryland.
The 935-acre Clinch River Nuclear Site is along the Clinch River south of Heritage Center, the former K-25 site. Two or more small modular reactors could be built there.
NuScale said its first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, is planning a 12-module SMR plant in Idaho. It’s scheduled to start operating by the mid-2020s.
“We appreciate the work of the experts at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as they conduct their thorough and rigorous review of our groundbreaking technology,” Hopkins said in the press release. “We look forward to helping the NRC complete its review and bringing our first plant online at the Idaho National Laboratory in 2026.”
NuScale and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plan to build 12 small modular reactors, producing 720 megawatts of power, at the Idaho National Laboratory site to help power Idaho Falls and other UAMPS member cities and provide power and help with research to INL, according to the Post Register of Idaho Falls, Idaho.
NuScale has signed preliminary agreements in recent months with companies that will offer technical expertise or will manufacture various components of the reactors. The most recent of these include Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and Sargent and Lundy, NuScale said.
NuScale has also signed memorandums of understanding to explore the use of its reactor technology in Canada, Jordan, and Romania and is discussing similar agreements with other potential customers.
NuScale said the second phase of the NRC design review of the small reactor involves the publication of a safety evaluation report with open items. Phase three is an independent assessment of the design and the NRC staff review by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, an independent adviser to the NRC.
“NuScale is submitting all information necessary to close open items from phase two by July 31,” the company said in a response to questions Wednesday. “NuScale treats all open items identified by the NRC staff as important, and believes we have sound technical rationale to close all open items.”
The entire design review is now in phase four, NuScale said. The purpose of phase four is to close the open items identified during phase two, and then publish an advanced safety evaluation report with no open items, the company said. The phase four safety evaluation report will be based on the third revision of the design certification application, NuScale said. It said revision three will be submitted by the end of August.
NuScale said its modular light water reactor nuclear power plant will be capable of generating 60 megawatts of electricity using a safer, smaller, and scalable version of pressurized water reactor technology.
“NuScale’s scalable design—a power plant can house up to 12 individual power modules—offers the benefits of carbon-free energy and reduces the financial commitments associated with gigawatt-sized nuclear facilities,” the company said.
The majority investor in NuScale is Fluor Corporation, a global engineering, procurement, and construction company with a 60-year history in commercial nuclear power, the press release said.
NuScale is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has offices in Corvallis, Oregon; Rockville, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Richland, Washington; Arlington, Virginia; and London, United Kingdo..
In Oak Ridge, the Clinch River Nuclear Site once hosted the former Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project. The site could be used to demonstrate small modular reactors with a maximum total electrical output of 800 megawatts.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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