NuScale’s Small Modular Reactor Receives the U.S, NRC Certification

On January 19, 2023, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) certified the NuScale Power’s design of a small modular reactor (SMR). The ruling will come into force on February 21, 2023. This is the first SMR design to be certified by the NRC and only the seventh reactor design approved for deployment in the United States. 

The NuScale SMR design is built on a light water reactor design that was developed at Oregon State University in the early 2000s. The NuScale Power Module is a 50 MWe pressurized light water nuclear power reactor with a thermal capacity of 160 MWe and natural coolant circulation. The reactor consists of a core, a pressuriser and two steam generators located in a common vessel, enclosed in a compact steel cylindrical containment and submerged in a cooling pool.

NuScale’s VOYGR™ SMR power plant can house up to 12 factory-built power modules that are about one-third the size of a large-scale reactor. Each power module utilizes natural processes such as convection and gravity to passively cool the reactor without adding water, electricity, or even operator action.

What’s more, NuScale’s new safety design approach eliminates the need for Class 1E power. The passive safety systems do not require AC or DC and therefore provide complete resilience to power outages. In the event of a power failure, NuScale reactors will shut down without operator or computer intervention and remain cold indefinitely, without the need to add water. The fuel in the fuel pool will remain cold for five months without adding water. Extreme weather conditions will not become any threat to safety. 

NuScale Power now has 19 signed and active domestic and international agreements for the deployment of SMR-based NPPs in 12 different countries, including Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Jordan.  

In the words of Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, NuScale’s SMR is no longer an abstract concept, they are real and they are ready for deployment thanks to the hard work of NuScale, the university community, national laboratories, industry partners, and the NRC. This is innovation at its finest that is getting started in the U.S. 

As reported by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission