Partnership to advance NuScale SMR design

12 April 2012

NuScale Power has partnered with NuHub - an economic development initiative in South Carolina - to pursue the deployment of a demonstration unit of its small modular reactor (SMR) at the Savannah River site.

NuScale plant
How a plant based on NuScale modules could look (Image: NuScale)

The partners propose to team up with one or more utilities to assist NuScale in its design certification process with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and development of the reference application for a combined construction and operating licence. As part of the agreement, NuScale will support efforts by NuHub to use this opportunity as a vehicle for economic development in South Carolina. In return, NuHub will participate in NuScale's application for an award under the Department of Energy's (DoE's) cost-sharing program with private industry to support SMR design and licensing activities.

NuScale is developing a 45 MWe self-contained pressurized water reactor and generator set, which would be factory made and shipped for deployment in sets of up to 12. These could result in scalable nuclear power plants with capacities from 45 MWe to 540 MWe.

In March, the DoE announced three public-private partnerships to develop deployment plans for SMR technologies at its Savannah River site in South Carolina. The memorandums of agreement were signed with NuScale, Hyperion Power Generation and Holtec International's SMR LLC subsidiary. Hyperion has designed a 25 MWe fast reactor, while Holtec has designed a 140 MWe pressurized water reactor. According to the DoE, those agreements will "help leverage Savannah River's land assets, energy facilities and nuclear expertise to support potential private sector development, testing and licensing of prototype SMR technologies." In addition, they would help private companies to "obtain information on potential SMR reactor siting at Savannah River and provide a framework for developing land use and site services agreements to further these efforts." The DoE has the authority to build and operate such small reactors if they are not supplying electricity to the grid.

The DoE announced in January a five-year, $452 million cost sharing program to support engineering, design certification and licensing for up to two first-of-a-kind SMR designs. It issued a draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit inputs from industry in advance of the full FOA, aiming at a deployment date for SMRs of 2022. The deadline for applications for the awards is 21 May and the DoE expects to announce the awardees a few months later.

NuHub said that it expects to "partner with a second reactor vendor in the coming weeks," who will also be applying for funds under the DoE's cost-sharing program. Westinghouse, which is developing its own 200 MWe SMR, has already pledged to take advantage of the DoE's offer.

Charles Speth, chair of NuHub's SMR committee, said: "Commercial deployment of this technology offers a powerful engine for economic growth through expansion of manufacturing and the establishment of higher education and training programs in engineering and power plant operations."

NuHub was launched in October 2010 by EngenuitySC - a public/private partnership formed to develop and grow South Carolina's knowledge-based economy. NuHub is a collaborative group of public, private, higher education and workforce development stakeholders working to maximize economic and job creation opportunities for the nuclear industry in the region.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News