Nuclear Regulatory Commission to certify NuScale’s small modular reactor design

Published on August 03, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will issue a final rule that certifies NuScale’s small modular reactor design for use in the United States.

NuScale applied with the NRC to certify the company’s small modular reactor design for use in the United States on Dec. 31, 2016. The design uses natural, “passive” processes such as convection and gravity in its operating systems and safety features while producing up to approximately 600 megawatts of electricity. The reactors 12 modules, each producing 50 megawatts, are all submerged in a safety-related pool built below ground level.

The design certification approves the NuScale reactor’s “design control document,” which is incorporated by reference in the final rule. Certification by the NRC means the design meets the agency’s applicable safety requirements. Thus, an application for a nuclear power plant combined license that references a certified design will not need to address any of the issues resolved by the design certification rule.

Instead, the combined license application and the NRC’s safety review would address any remaining safety and environmental issues for the proposed nuclear power plant.

The certification is effective 30 days after the NRC publishes the rule in the Federal Register.

The NRC has previously certified six other designs — the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, System 80+, AP600, AP1000, the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, and the APR1400.