US nuclear developer NuScale has signed an agreement with South Korean industrial company Doosan Enerbility to manufacture the pressure vessels for its small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).
Work is expected to begin this year, with full-scale production starting in the second half of 2023.
NuScale’s aim is to have the first SMR power plants in operation by the end of the decade. SMRs are conceived as mass-producable reactors that can be deployed much faster than a conventional nuclear power plant.
NuScale, which is majority owned by Fluor, is the only nuclear developer to have received design approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an SMR design.
Lined up to use them is US utility, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS).
It plans to establish the country’s first small-modular nuclear plant at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho, using a yet-to-be-decided number of NuScale’s 77-megawatt SMRs.
UAMPS plans to apply for a combined operation licence in the first half of 2024 and to start construction in the first half of 2026.
The deal, signed on Monday, followed a “manufacturability” review by Doosan into what would be required to produce the vessels for NuScale’s NPM-20 design. The vessels will be produced at the company’s plant in Changwon, Korea. Doosan has already forged some 34 reactor vessels and 124 steam generators for customers around the world.
John Hopkins, NuScale’s chief executive, commented in a press release: “We are proud to have such a well-respected, expert leader like Doosan partnering with us in this journey to shape the future of energy.”
Geewon Park, his opposite number at Doosan Enerbility, added: “The growing market demand for SMRs will also open a door for participation of our subcontractors.”
Doosan Enerbility, formerly known as Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, began its relationship with NuScale in 2019, when it concluded a collaboration agreement for supply of power modules and joined with other Korean entities to make an equity investment of more than $100m.
Last year, NuScale announced plans to merge with finance specialist Spring Valley Acquisition Corp to create a listed company with an enterprise value of about $1.9bn (see further reading).