NuScale SMR enters first manufacturing phase

26 September 2018

NuScale Power has selected BWX Technologies Inc (BWXT) as the first manufacturer of its small modular reactor (SMR). This marks the transition to the manufacturing phase and represents major progress in bringing the technology to market, NuScale said yesterday.

Multiple NuScale SMR modules could make up a plant (Image: NuScale)

Portland, Oregon-based NuScale selected BWXT following an 18-month selection process to determine the best company to refine NuScale's design for manufacturability, assembly and transportability. Virginia-based BWXT will immediately start work on the first manufacturing phase, which will continue until June 2020. BWXT expects to use Pennsylvania-based Precision Custom Components as a component manufacturing contractor on the project.

NuScale said it will contract for the remaining two phases, preparation for fabrication then fabrication, at a later date.

Eighty-three companies from ten countries expressed interest in the selection process. NuScale Power President and CEO John Hopkins said BWXT's established industry experience had been an important factor, as had choosing an American company. "Our technology will bring immense economic prosperity for people here at home, while improving the quality of life for those all across the world by providing resilient, carbon-free electricity," he said.

BWXT President and CEO Rex Geveden said: "NuScale’s unique SMR design can be factory-made and offers scalable power based on need. We are excited to work with NuScale to help make their groundbreaking design a reality."

NuScale's self-contained SMR design houses the reactor core, pressuriser and steam generator inside a single containment vessel. A single module can generate 50 MWe (gross) of electricity and at just under 25 metres in length, 4.6 metres in diameter and weighing 450 tonnes, incorporates simple, redundant, diverse, and independent safety features. A power plant could include up to 12 modules, to produce as much as 600 MWe (gross).

NuScale's SMR is undergoing design certification review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the first - and so far only - SMR to do so. The NRC completed the first phase of its review in April, and the regulator is scheduled to complete its safety evaluation report in August 2020. NuScale expects the application to be approved by the commission the following month.

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) is planning the development of a 12-module NuScale plant at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory, with deployment expected in the mid-2020s.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News