US-based NuScale Power on 7 January announced its first submittal to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for pre-licensing vendor design review (VDR) of its innovative small modular reactor (SMR) design.

NuScale hopes to bring its first power plant into production and operation by 2026.

NuScale’s technology is the first and only SMR to undergo design certification review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). In December, the company announced NRC's completion of Phase 4 of its SMR design certification application (DCA). The end of Phase 4 indicates near-completion of the technical review.

NuScale said the VDR submission to the CNSC would build on the extensive body of information developed as part of the US design certification process, allowing a NuScale customer to maximise increased efficiencies for technical reviews when later seeking to submit a construction licence application.

The first of NuScale's four VDR submittals took place on 10 December 2019. It is a combined Phase 1 and 2 level VDR, as the SMR design is mature enough to enter Phase 2. The remaining submittals will be conducted at approximately six-month intervals.

The first submittal addresses four of the 19 topic areas of the VDR. They  are:

  • Topic 1 – General Plant Description;
  • Topic 2 – SSC Classification;
  • Topic 16 – Vendor Research and Development Programme; and
  • Topic 17 – Design Process and Quality Assurance.

“We chose these four topic areas as they provide a solid foundation for the review by covering the overall unprecedented safety of the design, our extensive research and development programmes, and that we have the quality assurance and other management systems in place to satisfy the CNSC,” said NuScale vice president of regulatory affairs Tom Bergman.

“Completion of the vendor design review provides assurance to both the regulator and potential customers that the NuScale design will be acceptable to build and operate in Canada.”

NuScale has signed an agreement with Bruce Power to develop a business case to support the company’s efforts to bring its SMR technology to Canada.

Bruce Power is supporting evaluation, planning, and licensing activities, all of which will serve an important role in demonstrating the business case for NuScale’s technology in Canada.

Ontario Power Generation is also represented on the NuScale Advisory Board. It provides advice on the potential deployment of NuScale technology in Canada, SMR licensing in Canada, and the CNSC vendor design review process.

NuScale Power’s SMR design features a fully factory-fabricated NuScale Power Module capable of generating 60MW of electricity using a safer, smaller, and scalable version of pressurised water reactor technology. The majority investor in NuScale is Fluor Corporation.