US Nuclear Power Industry Starts Waking Up

NuScale Power’s small modular fission reactor for producing both electricity and industrial process heat has completed an extensive and rigorous review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The process required 115,000 hours of scrupulous review, and was carried out quite smoothly — considering that NuScale’s is the only small modular reactor to have undergone such a review.

The NRC is expected to certify NuScale’s design, and the company’s first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, is planning a 12-module SMR plant in Idaho slated for operation by the mid-2020s based on this certified design. __ NuScale h/t NBF

NuScale Trailer Delivered Small Modular Nuclear Reactor

Factory-built small modular reactors represent an important step toward the economical scaling of production and installation of newer, simpler, safer, and more affordable ways of supplying electrical power and heat from nuclear fission.

NuScale Power, LLC is developing a new modular light water reactor nuclear power plant. This groundbreaking technology features a fully factory fabricated NuScale Power Module™ capable of generating 50MW of power using a safer, smaller, and scalable version of pressurized water reactor technology. NuScale’s scalable design – a power plant can house up to 12 individual power modules –offers the benefits of carbon-free nuclear power and reduces the financial commitments associated with gigawatt-sized nuclear facilities. NuScale’s technology is also ideally suited to supply energy for district heating, desalination, and process heat applications.

The majority investor in NuScale is Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR), a global engineering, procurement, and construction company with a 60-year history in commercial nuclear power.

NuScale is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and has offices in Corvallis, Ore.; Rockville, Md.; Charlotte, N.C.; Richland, Wash.; Arlington, Va.; and London, UK. __ via Brian Wang’s Next Big Future

Under recent US presidents prior to Trump, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission performed the role of deal-breaker and monkey-wrench inserter when it came to advancing nuclear power technology. But since the election of Donald Trump as US President, many branches of the US government — including the NRC — have been shoved back into productive and assistive roles for American industry.

Under the late US president Obama in particular, US federal bureaucracies too often performed as agents of sabotage toward US industry, the US economy, and toward traditional American cultural institutions in general. Some of those bureaucracies even tried to rig the 2016 elections in a patently illegal manner, but fortunately for the US economy they failed.

More on Small Modular Reactors:

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5 Responses to US Nuclear Power Industry Starts Waking Up

  1. Matt Musson says:

    Does the Nucorp reactor require a pressurized containment building?

    • alfin2101 says:

      A containment structure is necessary for each reactor, according to the website. The reactor is pressurised, and the containment structure must contain whatever pressure it may be exposed to under failure conditions. NuScale SMR is a pressurised water reactor with advanced safety features.

      Containment buildings containing multiple modular reactors may well be constructed quite differently than containment structures for full scale commercial fission reactors — or not.

      As stated in the article the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems is planning a plant that will contain 12 NuScale modular reactors.

  2. Joe Wooten says:

    If the NRC licenses these to the same standards as the big 1200 MWe reactors, the operating costs will be much higher as it requires a very large workforce, especially engineers and clerks, to run it. The NRC will also need a paradigm change in how they regulate these reactors.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Exactly. Under previous administrations the NRC behaved like most corrupt bureaucracies made up of idiots and stooges.

      The size and mindsets of federal bureaucracies will have to change if government bloat and corruption is not to drag the entire country down with it. Small modular fission reactors are being designed to higher levels of intrinsic safety. If you look through the NuScale website for example, you can see how their reactor was designed explicitly to require a much smaller workforce, but with higher levels of safety. Obama’s NRC could have never adjusted its mentality to see how such a thing might be possible.

      Likewise there is a difference between “standards” and criteria. The word “standards” is value loaded, with an implied threat of catastrophe if “standards” are not upheld. Applying “appropriate criteria” of oversight, regulation, and control, is another matter — reflecting the changing realities of new technologies and new scales of mechanism and raw material.

  3. Joe Wooten says:

    Dr. Dale Klein tried straightening up the NRC when he was appointed NRC chairman by Bush II, but he was not able to totally get the deadwood out. One 0bama came in, Harry Reid got one of his staffers appointed and things went downhill after that.

    BTW…Dr. Klein was my faculty advisor when I was getting my BSME at UT Austin back from 1975-1979. Great guy.

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