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Small Modular Reactor project hits milestone

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has completed the second and third phases of review of the NuScale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design.

According to NuScale, the approval is six weeks ahead of schedule and marks a significant milestone in the company’s timeline to commercialize the technology. The company said the announcement brings it closer to bringing the first SMR to market ahead of foreign competitors including Russia and China.

NRC is expected to complete its review of NuScale’s design by September 2020. Its first customer is Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems. The initial project includes a 12-module SMR plant at the Idaho National Laboratory. It should be operational by the mid 2020’s.

“Completing Phases 2 and 3 of the NRC’s design review certification process is a critical milestone for our company and the advanced nuclear industry,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins. “We appreciate the work of the experts at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as they conduct their thorough and rigorous review of our groundbreaking technology. We look forward to helping the NRC complete its review and bringing our first plant online at the Idaho National Laboratory in 2026.”

Phase 2 includes publication of a safety evaluation report while Phase 3 consists of an Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards review of the safety report. The advisory committee is an independent advisor to the NRC.

The entire review is now in Phase 4.

NuScale has already agreed to cooperative agreements to explore deploying the technology in Canada, Jordan, and Romania. Other potential customers are pending.

The company said it has been working to secure its supply chain, signing preliminary agreements with companies that will offer technical expertise and manufacture various components of the reactor.

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