The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has said that it directed staff to issue a final rule that certifies NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) design for use in the United States. The certification’s effective date is 30 days after the NRC publishes the rule in the Federal Register.
NRC said certification means the design “meets the agency’s applicable safety requirements”. An application for a NPP combined licence that references a certified design “will not need to address any of the issues resolved by the design certification rule”. Instead, the combined licence application and NRC’s safety review would address any remaining safety and environmental issues for the proposed nuclear power plant. The design certification “approves the NuScale reactor’s ‘design control document’, which is incorporated by reference in the final rule”.
NuScale submitted an application to NRC in December 2016, to certify the company’s SMR design for use in the United States. NRC said staff met its schedule goals for completing its technical review. The design uses natural, “passive” processes such as convection and gravity in its operating systems and safety features, while producing up to approximately 600 megawatts of electricity. The SMR’s 12 modules, each producing 50 megawatts, are all submerged in a safety-related pool built below ground level.
NRC previously certified six other designs: the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, System 80+, AP600, AP1000, the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor and the APR1400.
Meanwhile, NuScale Power, the previous day signed a business collaboration agreement with National Technical Systems (NTS) to begin development of an Equipment Qualification (EQ) Test Chamber. This technology, built by NTS, will allow NuScale to mimic the range of environmental conditions under which NuScale equipment is required to function in order to meet NRC and plant-specific requirements.
NTS is a leading test, inspection, and certification company with more than four decades of experience working in the nuclear sector, including in the areas of safety relief valve testing, repair services, and fuels and fluid testing. As part of the agreement, NTS will design, fabricate, and commission the EQ Chamber at its facility in Huntsville, Alabama, that will ultimately support critical testing for equipment used in NuScale’s SMR under a schedule to enable the timely delivery of NuScale Power Modules to customers by 2027.