NuScale makes first Canadian SMR review submission

07 January 2020

NuScale Power has made its first submittals to Canada's nuclear regulator for a pre-licensing vendor design review (VDR) for its small modular reactor (SMR) design. The reactor is also undergoing a design certification review in the USA where the company plans to bring a plant into production and operation by 2026.

A NuScale power plant could house up to 12 individual power modules (Image: NuScale)

The NuScale SMR design features a factory-fabricated 60 MWe power module based on a scalable version of pressurised water reactor technology. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in December completed the fourth phase of its six-phase design certification review, which is scheduled for completion by September 2020. Building on information developed as part of the NRC process, the VDR submission will allow customers to maximise efficiencies for technical reviews when later seeking a construction licence, the company said. The first submission combines the first and second phases of the VDR, as the NuScale design is deemed mature enough to enter directly into the second phase of the process. NuScale will make a total of four submittals to the CNSC at about six-monthly intervals.

"Interest in building NuScale plants in Canada continues to grow," NuScale Chairman and CEO John Hopkins said. "This pre-licensing process allows our design to be reviewed by another highly respected regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and we look forward to their thorough evaluation of our innovative safety features."

The pre-licensing VDR is offered by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) as an optional service to assess a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor's reactor technology. It is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant, but aims to verify the acceptability of a design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations. The three phases of the VDR process involve a pre-licensing assessment of compliance with regulatory requirements; an assessment of any potential fundamental barriers to licensing; and a follow-up phase allowing the vendor to respond to findings from the second phase.

Canadian nuclear utility Bruce Power is supporting NuScale's evaluation, planning and licensing activities under a November 2019 agreement to develop a business case to introduce NuScale SMR technology to the Canadian market. Ontario Power Generation is also advising the company on the potential deployment of its technology in Canada, as well as on the SMR licensing and the VDR process.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News