NuScale Tracking to SMR design certification application by September 2020

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has completed the fourth phase of review of the design certification application (DCA) for the company’s revolutionary small modular reactor (SMR). NuScale reached this milestone on schedule, marking yet another significant achievement along its path to commercialization. The entire review of NuScale’s SMR design is now in Phases 5 and 6.

Phase 4 of the NRC’s DCA review represents completion of the advanced safety evaluation report (SER) with no open items. Completion of Phase 4 is significant as it signifies near-completion of the technical review. All requests for additional information have been closed, and all open items have been closed. This is the last version of the SER before the NRC issues its Final SER in September 2020, and the NRC remains on track to complete its final review of NuScale’s design by this date. The Final SER represents approval by the NRC staff of our design.

As NuScale’s first customer, the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems is planning a 12-module SMR plant in Idaho slated for operation by the mid-2020s based on the NRC’s certified design. In preparation for its first SMR plant in the U.S., NuScale has also signed MOUs to explore the deployment of its technology in Canada, Jordan, the Czech Republic, and Romania, and similar agreements are being discussed with other potential customers.

The Nuscale reactor measures 65 feet tall x 9 feet in diameter. It sits within a containment vessel measuring 76 feet tall x 15 feet in diameter. The reactor and containment vessel operate inside a water-filled pool that is built below grade. The reactor operates using the principles of buoyancy driven natural circulation; hence, no pumps are needed to circulate water through the reactor. Water is heated as it passes over the core. As it heats up, the water rises through the central riser within the interior of the vessel.

Thermal capacity              200 MWt
Electrical capacity           60 MWe (gross)
Capacity factor               over 95 percent
Dimensions                    76' x 15' cylindrical containment vessel module containing reactor and steam generator
Weight	                      ~700 tons in total are shipped from the factory in three segments
Transportation                Truck, rail or barge
Cost                          Numerous advantages due to simplicity, modular design, volume manufacturing and shorter construction times
Fuel                           Standard LWR fuel in 17 x 17 configuration, each assembly 2 meters (~ 6 ft.) in length; up to 24-month refueling cycle with fuel enriched at less than 5 percent

28 thoughts on “NuScale Tracking to SMR design certification application by September 2020”

  1. If the water isn’t under pressure what stops it from flashing into steam since the reactor core is much hotter than the boiling point of water at regular atmospheric pressure. And if the water is under pressure it will be lose pressure when the containment container is breached.

  2. If you use LEGO men, the Commonwealth Fusion people are going to come after you for copyright infringement.

  3. If the containment wall cracks, then there’s no exposure to the core. If the reactor vessel wall cracks, then the containment prevents the big pool from getting bad stuff into it. If they both crack, then you have a pretty big mess on your hands, but the pool is so large that it won’t heat up very much, so very few radioactive isotopes (other than tritium) will evaporate.

    If the pool, the containment, and the reactor vessel all crack, then you’re screwed. But my guess is that an event that takes out all three is one where a nuclear accident is probably the least of your worries.

  4. Well to get seepage you’d have to:

    Melt the fuel
    Burst the cladding
    Break the inner RPV wall
    Break the outer RPV wall
    Break the wall for the bay holding the RPV
    Break the common pool steel liner
    Break the concrete wall for the common pool

  5. It’s not dancing with the stars…it’s nuclear related.

    But of course! Reactors with the stars.

    16 celebrities, some of whom you might have even heard of, (or at least heard of the activity they are supposedly famous for) are divided into 4 teams of 4.

    Each one is allowed to select from natural Uranium, Highly Enriched U235, Plutonium, Thorium and Deuterated Water. They are given a welding kit, access to a scrapyard, and a thoroughly deserted 100 sq. km to work in.

    Each week we see how they are progressing, and can compare their net thermal outputs, net electrical outputs, and the reading on their personal radiation tags worn on their chests.

    Ratings gold I tell you.

  6. yeah huh there is. You’re just a MSR hater! They’re the future and you’re a Luddite. Elon Musk could do it. So could Bill Gates. Even Bozos could make MSRs happen if it weren’t for the NRC trying to keep everybody safe. The Chinese have a MSR that fits on the head of a pin and can be worn like IronMan’s thoracic arc reactor.

  7. There is no proven low corrosion combination of salts and alloy that has been proven to reach acceptable engineering and cost goals yet.

  8. In the advent of some natural disaster we could see the reactors rupturing and contaminating the water. Then if the outside container also breaks then we’d get the seepage.

    Just playing devil’s advocate here. I’m all for nuclear tech. I think this is an excellent step forward.

  9. Once the first one is built and working and understood then other countries who aren’t run by lily-white-pretend-native-American-scolds will order it. Gas isn’t cheap everywhere and lots of countries would like cost effective carbon free base load power.

  10. The common pool is open to the air so under normal circumstances it evaporates as pools of water are wont to do. There isn’t any particularly radioactive water in the common pool.

    Why would water in the common pool be super radioactive?

  11. So it takes off into orbit atop a pillar of flame, spraying the burning fuel into the atmosphere?

    I don’t think that’s what they are going for.

  12. Yes, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Now if we could only get a little deregulation to help speed things up a bit.

  13. Get out of the hands of the bureaucracy and NRC ASAP

    It’s not dancing with the stars…it’s nuclear related.

    Executive order #1: No new reactor may be commissioned, so says i.

  14. Please be a bit more specific, hard to tell if this is FUD or a real question. Kind of smells like FUD.

    If the outermost wall of the large common pool “cracks and loses water” then the water goes in to the surrounding ground. No reactors are in danger and you would shut them off. Because the pool is below ground the water can’t drain out quickly as any water leaving the pool must work its way through dirt and rock. While the water ever so slowly works its way out you would top off the common pool with a nothing more than a part time garden hose use. After a week of this you could let the pool drain and the reactors would air cool.

    If the outermost wall of the reactor pressure vessel “cracks and loses water” then the reactor SCRAMs, water rushes in to fill the space between the outer and inner reactor pressure vessel wall and the reactor can use the common pool as a heat sink.

  15. But has the NRC given clearance yet on multi reactor/single operator room ops generally yet? That seems to be a big key to lower cost multi-module ops.

  16. It’d be nice if this turned out to be the Falcon 9 of nuclear reactors. Not holding my breath, though.

  17. Good thing that final certification comes before the presidential election. Get out of the hands of the bureaucracy and NRC ASAP.

    Remember EBR-II

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