US-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) said on 13 August that it had contracted with UK-based Howden to design a helium circulator for use in its Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR). Ultra Safe Nuclear is investing in the Howden submerged helium blowers to maximise heat transfer in the MMR's power plant.

Howden products are used in a variety of reactor designs, including pressurised water reactors and advanced gas-cooled reactors. "Our contract with Howden is a strategic investment that marries the inherent safety of our MMR with proven equipment that will make the overall system simpler, less expensive, and more reliable," said Mark Mitchell, President of USNC-Power. "By seeking superior components from around the world, we're building a best-in-class supply chain for our MMR."

Ultra Safe Nuclear will collaborate with the Howden engineering and design team to maximise heat-transfer efficiencies. The company plans to incorporate the Howden submerged blower into the MMR Project at the Chalk River Laboratories site in Ontario. This MMR Project is in the third stage of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' (CNL) four-stage process to site a demonstration small modular reactor (SMR) at Chalk River Laboratories, a site owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and operated by CNL.

The USNC MMR Reactor consists of two plants: the nuclear plant that generates heat, and the adjacent power plant that converts heat into electricity or provides process heat for industrial applications. The USNC system is designed to be simple, with minimal operations and maintenance requirements, and no on-site fuel storage, handling, or processing. UNSC said key to the overall design is its Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel, providing a new approach to reactor safety at the fuel level.