The U.S. Approves the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Design, The First of Its Type to Win Regulatory Approval

By: | February 1st, 2023

An image of the proposed NuScale plant in Idaho ( Image by NuScale Power

To limit the impacts of climate change, the world must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels but renewable energy sources like wind and solar have limitations.

Nuclear Energy can be the best alternative as it’s a zero-emission clean energy source, even though it’s controversial.

But traditional nuclear power is beset with problems

Conventionally, nuclear power plants are built at the site that takes decades to complete with significant cost escalations.

Advancements in nuclear reactor design are looking to address these issues with Small modular reactors (SMR)

SMRs can be built at a factory and then shipped to a site for assembly, lowering the overall project costs. These small reactors mean they also require less site space and are much less likely to overheat.

Now, in a historic ruling, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified a design for an advanced small modular reactor (SMR) for the first time. Each of the modules, about a third of the size of a large-scale reactor, is capable of generating 50 megawatts of emissions-free electricity.

NuScale Power’s design has become the first small modular reactor and the seventh reactor design ever approved for use in the U.S. Oregon-based NuScale Power is a pioneer in small nuclear reactors.

NuScale and the Department of Energy spent hundreds of millions of dollars over more than a decade to get through this regulatory gate. Applicants when applying for a combined license to build and operate a reactor in the U.S. will be able to pick NuScale’s SMR design.

The company has already signed agreements to deploy these SMR plants in 12 countries, including Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Jordan.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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