The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has concluded that NuScale Power’s novel safety design approach eliminates the need for Class 1E power for its small modular reactor (SMR).
In a Safety Evaluation Report, released in December, NRC approved the NuScale report, which established the bases of how a design can be safe without reliance on any safety-related electrical power.
“Our approach to safety is a first in the nuclear industry and exemplifies the inherent safety of NuScale’s SMR," said Dale Atkinson, NuScale's chief operating officer.
Class 1E is the regulatory standard set for the design of safety-related nuclear power plant electrical systems. Currently, all nuclear plants in the USA are required to have Class 1E power supplies as backup power for their Engineered Safety Feature Actuation Systems, which start the emergency core cooling systems (ECCS).
The NuScale design eliminates all of the DC batteries usually needed to align valves and to power systems required for cooling of the reactor core.
NuScale, which is developing a 50MWe small modular reactor, submitted a design certification application to the NRC in December 2016. The review began in March and is expected to be complete by September 2020.
Photo: How a NuScale Plant might look (Credit: NuScale)