The first SMR nuclear reactor approved

On Friday, certification of a small nuclear reactor was approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which could become the first of its kind to be approved in the US.

This is a time-consuming project. The certification process began in 2016 and the project was approved two years ago by the NRC.

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The small modular reactor (SMR), designed by Oregon-based nuclear reactor company NuScale Power, can be mass-produced at a central factory and shipped to wherever needed, which is cheaper and less time-consuming than designing a custom nuclear reactor for each location.

At 65 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter, the reactor is actually quite small – for a reactor, anyway – and is capable of producing around 77 megawatts of electrical power.

In fact, according to the World Nuclear Association, up to 12 of these reactors can be chained into a standard power plant configuration to produce a total of 924 MWe, which places them roughly on par with an average nuclear power plant.

Technically this is not the first SMR in the world. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that countries such as China already have SMRs in an "advanced stage of construction" on the island of Hainan.

However, this is a big win for American nuclear power, considering that almost no new nuclear power plants have been built in the past 30 years or so, according to a 2020 report from Scientific American.

In light of this latest development and the fact that the Department of Energy has called the RMS "a key part of the Department's goal of developing safe, clean and affordable nuclear power," the nuclear drought looks set to end soon. . Of course, as with everything nuclear, doubts have been raised about the safety of the project. A July 2020 report, for example, spoke of possible complications from "boron dilution," which could prevent the reactor from completely shutting down in an emergency.

However, do not expect to see them up and running soon: according to the company's timing, it will be necessary to wait until at least 2029 to see a NuScale plant in operation.

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This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL on Thu, 04 Aug 2022 07:00:52 +0000.