NuScale progresses modular reactor design to manufacturing stage

NuScale Power, the Oregon-based frontrunner in the race to develop the world’s first small modular reactor (SMR), has picked a company to make its design manufacturable.

The contract was awarded to US nuclear specialist BWX Technologies after an 18-month selection process, and "represents major progress in bringing the technology to market", NuScale said in its press release.

Altogether, 83 companies in 10 countries were assessed before BWX was chosen.

The Virginian engineer will now work until June 2020 on refining NuScale’s design to make it easier to manufacture, assemble and transport. NuScale said it would contract for the remaining two phases, preparation for fabrication, then fabrication, at a later date.

NuScale says its SMR design is the only one to undergo design certification review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

John Hopkins, NuScale Power president and chief executive, said: "Our technology will bring immense economic prosperity for people here at home, while improving the quality of life for those all across the world by providing resilient, carbon-free electricity."

The global market for SMRs has been estimated by the US Nuclear Energy Agency to be worth more than $100bn by 2035.
NuScale’s self-contained SMR design houses the reactor core, pressuriser and steam generator inside a single containment vessel.

A single module can generate 50 MW of electricity and is small enough to be transported by truck. A power plant could be built up from multiple modules, or the reactors could be transported from place to place to provide electricity or heat energy as required.

Image: The reactors are designed to be transportable to site by truck (NuScale)

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