The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said that NuScale has not “sufficiently validated” the design and performance of the steam generator in its 50 megawatt small modular reactor (SMR) currently under design certification review. The NRC is nevertheless still expected to certify the SMR design but without granting “finality” to the steam generator, touted by the Fluor subsidiary as one of the key innovations to its smaller “cost-competitive” design. That will likely inhibit the company’s ability to attract further investment to the project, which Fluor itself is no longer investing in. NuScale submitted its design certification application to the NRC in December 2016 and the NRC is expected to grant the certification later this year or early next year. That, however, depends on the outcome of a staff review of unrelated changes to the SMR’s emergency core cooling system that NuScale plans to submit to the NRC on May 20. Instead of resolving the steam generator design issue ahead of design certification, the NRC is deferring to the plant operator Energy Northwest to resolve the issue during the licensing process, after construction.
Nuclear Intelligence Weekly 15th May 2020 read more »