NuScale SMR to be considered for use in Jordan

15 January 2019

A joint feasibility study on the deployment of NuScale's small modular reactor in Jordan will be carried out through a memorandum of understanding signed between NuScale Power and the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).

An artistic impression on how a plant based on NuScale's SMR design could appear (Image: NuScale Power)

Announcing the MoU today, NuScale said the feasibility study will "inform JAEC's decision on moving forward with the project as part of Jordan's planned deployment of nuclear power plants".

"As Jordan considers its energy future, I'm confident that the unmatched resiliency and safety features of NuScale's SMR technology make us the ideal partner on the Kingdom's nuclear power goals," said NuScale Power Chairman and CEO John Hopkins. "We look forward to using the agreement to showcase our SMR's unique capabilities, cost benefits and flexibility, all of which demonstrate what a game-changer this technology will be for Jordan."

"NuScale is at the forefront of US SMR technology," said Khaled Toukan, chairman of JAEC. "We look forward to this collaboration to assess the viability and potential for deployment of NuScale SMR technology in Jordan."

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, the company says. A power plant could include up to 12 modules to produce as much as 720 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 last year, 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 plans the development of a 12-module demonstration NuScale plant at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory, with operation expected by 2027. The US Department of Energy in December signed an MoU on the use of power from two of the 12 modules.

In November, NuScale Power signed an MoU with Bruce Power to develop a business case to introduce its SMR technology to the Canadian market.

NuScale said it has "seen considerable interest in its SMR technology in regions of the world, like the Middle East, where fossil fuels are the source of heat and electricity for desalination".

Jordan's Committee for Nuclear Strategy in 2007 set out a programme for nuclear power to provide 30% of electricity by 2030, plus some for export.

Jordan, which relies on imports to meet over 95% of its energy needs, had planned to build a nuclear power plant, comprising two 1000 MWe units, in the Amra region, about 70 kilometres east of Amman. The first unit was expected to in operation by 2021 and a second one by 2025. Jordan selected Russia as the preferred bidder for the plant, into which Russia was also to make a significant investment. However, Jordan scrapped the project, citing costs.

In November 2013, JAEC said it would build several small reactors of about 180 MWe capacity. In March 2017, an agreement between JAEC and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy was signed for a feasibility study on construction of two SMRs in Jordan. In November that year, JAEC signed an MoU with Rolls-Royce to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of an SMR. Later in the same month, JAEC signed an MoU with X-energy to assess the US company's SMR.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News