NuScale Power’s small modular reactor (SMR) design has been certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which issued its final rule in the Federal Register. It becomes the first SMR design certified by the NRC with the rule taking effect on 21 February. NRC accepted NuScale’s SMR design certification application in 2018 and issued its final technical review in August 2020. In July 2022, the NRC Commission voted to certify the design, which was the first SMR approved by the NRC for use in the USA.

NuScale’s SMR is an advanced light-water SMR with each module capable of generating 50 MWe. The VOYGR SMR can house up to 12 factory-built power modules. Utilities can now reference NuScale’s SMR design when applying for a combined license to build and operate a reactor. NuScale is seeking an uprate to enable each module to generate up to 77 MWe and NRC is expected to review the application this year.

The US Department Energy (DOE) has provided more than $600m since 2014 to support NuScale’s VOYGR and other US SMR concepts. DOE is working with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) through the Carbon Free Power Project to demonstrate a six-module NuScale VOYGR plant at Idaho National Laboratory. The first module is expected to be start up in 2029 with full plant operation in 2030. UAMPS expects to submit a combined licence application to NRC in 2024.

Image: Artist's impression of a VOYGR SMR plant (courtesy of NuScale)