US-based Areva Inc, part of France’s Areva, has signed a contract to manufacture fuel assemblies for Fluor subsidiary NuScale Power’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology.

Mechanical and thermal hydraulic testing of these new fuel assemblies are underway as part of Oregon-based NuScale’s design certification application, which is planned for submission to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in late 2016. Areva will supply HTP advanced pressurised water reactor fuel for the initial cores for NuScale’s reactors as well as subsequent reloads.

NuScale is looking to construct individual NuScale Power Modules, each producing 50MWe (gross) with its own factory-built combined containment vessel and reactor vessel, and its own packaged turbine-generator set. A nuclear power plant could include up to 12 NuScale Power Modules to produce 600MWe.

The reactor coolant is driven by natural circulation and can be shut down safely with no operator action, no AC or DC power, and no external water supply. NuScale says additional modules can be added as customer’s demand for electricity increases. NuScale announced in October that it aims to deploy its SMR technology in the UK with the first 50MWe unit in operation by the mid-2020s. The company is looking for partners for the project.

Photo: The NuScale power module