NuScale says its SMR promises cost savings

06 June 2018

NuScale Power announced today that its small modular reactor (SMR) can generate 20% more power than originally planned, according to advanced testing and modelling tools that helped the Oregon, USA-headquartered company identify "optimisation opportunities".

NuScale SMR cross section - 460
NuScale reactors are housed inside steel containment vessels and submerged in a large pool of water below ground level in the reactor building (Image: NuScale)

It said increasing the power generating capacity of a 12-module NuScale SMR plant by 20%, with very minimal change in capital costs, lowers the cost of the facility on a per kilowatt basis from an expected USD5000 to about USD4200. It also lowers the company's levelized cost of electricity by up to 18%, making it "even more competitive" with other electricity generation sources, it said. The new gross-output of a NuScale power plant to 720 MWe "not only offers an impressive amount of carbon-free generation, it also measures up to significant savings when compared to today's competing gigawatt-size plants", it added.

"The value engineering applied not only offers cost-savings and improved performance, it does so without affecting the unparalleled safety of our advanced nuclear reactor design," NuScale Chairman and CEO John Hopkins said.

NuScale's first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), is planning the development of a 12-module NuScale plant.

Doug Hunter, CEO of UAMPS, said the substantial reduction in cost per kilowatt is not only "incredibly good news" for the country's first SMR plant, but also because it will increase the value of its plant over time.

The regulatory process of increasing the level of maximum reactor power at which a nuclear plant can operate is referred to as a power uprate. The 20% power increase will be reviewed separately and not impact the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) current design review of NuScale's SMR or the scheduled September 2020 approval date of its Design Certification Application (DCA).

NuScale said that since it has made this determination before any plant construction or equipment manufacture, UAMPS will "reap the benefit" of this optimisation without licensing or construction delays.

In January, NuScale announced the NRC agreed NuScale's SMR design approach requires no safety-related power to safely shut down. No operating nuclear plant in the USA can make that claim, the company said. The NRC also recently completed its Phase 1 review of NuScale's DCA.

NuScale's first plant is scheduled to be operational in the mid-2020s.

The majority investor in NuScale is Fluor Corporation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News