NuScale nuclear reactor

A small modular nuclear reactor, designed by Oregon-based NuScale Power, could begin producing carbon-free electricity at the INL Site in 2026. The reactor design features 12 60 megawatt modules and is being proposed by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems.

The U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission has finished the second and third phases of reviewing the design of the small nuclear reactors planned to be built in the desert west of Idaho Falls.

Phase 2 involves publication of the safety evaluation report, while Phase 3 consists of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards’ review of both the staff’s safety report and NuScale’s design certification application. The commission wrapped up about six weeks earlier than expected, NuScale said in a news release Monday.

The review is now in Phase 4. NuScale said it expects the commission’s review of its design certification application to be done by September 2020. NuScale said this “brings NuScale closer to bringing the country’s first (small modular reactor) to market, putting the U.S. on a path to beat foreign competitors like Russia and China in a global SMR race.”

NuScale and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plan to build 12 small modular reactors, producing 720 megawatts of power, at the Idaho National Laboratory site to help power Idaho Falls and other UAMPS member cities and also providing power and help with research to INL. The reactors are expected to be operational by the mid-2020s.

NuScale said it has signed preliminary agreements in recent months with companies that will offer technical expertise or will manufacture components of the reactors. It also has signed memoranda of understanding to explore the use of its reactor technology in Canada, Jordan and Romania and is discussing similar agreements with other potential customers.