Rolls-Royce backs NuScale SMR

02 August 2013

UK-based engineering company Rolls-Royce is adding its support to NuScale Power's submission for US federal funds to help build and commercialize its small modular reactor (SMR).

NuScale SMR cutaway
A cutaway of the NuScale Power Module

The US Department of Energy (DoE) intends to fund up to two designs for SMRs through a cost-shared partnership which will support first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing. While the first round of funding was allocated to B&W in late 2012, the DoE is now reviewing applications under a second round. NuScale Power is one of several SMR developers that have applied for the second round of funding.

Rolls-Royce has now said that it will support NuScale in its submission to the DoE's funding opportunity.

President of Rolls-Royce's nuclear business Jason Smith said, "Rolls-Royce has a large US manufacturing footprint and a rich 50-year nuclear heritage spanning reactor and component design and manufacture through to operational support, obsolescence management and plant life extension."

Involved in the UK's naval nuclear program since 1959, Rolls-Royce boasts a significant nuclear skills base with a large existing nuclear-certified supply chain. The company lists fuel handling, reactor maintenance, re-fuelling processes, non-destructive examination techniques and what it says are "unique decommissioning and waste handling capabilities" amongst its offerings to the nuclear industry.

NuScale CEO John Hopkins noted, "With the addition of Rolls-Royce's world class manufacturing capability to the NuScale team, we bring a wealth of experience to the development, production and maintenance of advanced nuclear technologies across global markets."

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. Using conventional fuel assemblies, the core would be cooled by natural circulation, requiring fewer components and safety systems than conventional reactors.

In November 2012, the Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) mPower reactor was selected as the winner of the first round of funding, receiving access to $79 million to commercially demonstrate the design by 2022. A second round of funding was announced in March 2013, with the deadline for proposals being 1 July.

Other SMR developers to submit proposals under the second round of federal funds include Westinghouse, Holtec International and Hybrid Power Technologies.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News