History of NuScale Power Technology
Starting in 2000, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded research for the development of a small nuclear power plant that might be used in multiple applications. Idaho National Environment & Engineering Laboratory (INEEL) led the project with support from Oregon State University (OSU). At the same time, OSU was gaining international recognition for its work in the development of passive safety systems that use natural circulation to provide cooling for nuclear plants. OSU built and operated 1000 MW and 600 MW nuclear steam supply system scale models to help the developer obtain United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Design Certification (DC) for those technologies.
When the DOE research project concluded in 2003, OSU scientists continued to pursue the design of a small nuclear plant that used natural circulation. Ultimately, the team at OSU built a one-third scale electrically-heated version of their plant as a test facility for this design. OSU granted NuScale Power exclusive rights to the nuclear power plant design, as well as the continued use of the test facility, through a technology transfer agreement completed in 2007.
NuScale notified the NRC in February 2008 of its intent to pursue DC for its technology. The company is in the pre-application review phase with the NRC. Many of the leading consultants in the nuclear industry have joined with NuScale to commercialize this technology. NuScale is designing a 50 MWe (gross) module that can be operated either independently or as one module in a multi-module facility.
In 2011, Fluor Corporation became the primary investor in NuScale with the intent to leverage its global engineering, fabrication, procurement, and construction capabilities, along with its global sources and established supply chain, to support the commercialization of the NuScale design.
In July 2013 NuScale announced the Western Initiative for Nuclear (Program WIN). Program WIN is a broad, multi-western state collaboration to study the demonstration and deployment of a series of multi-module NuScale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) plants in western states.
In August 2013, NuScale announced that Rolls-Royce had joined Fluor Corporation in backing NuScale’s bid to commercialize small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear technology globally. The addition of Rolls-Royce’s world class manufacturing capability brought a wealth of experience in the development, production, and maintenance of advanced nuclear technologies across global markets. Rolls-Royce is assisting NuScale with several areas of the SMR design with a special emphasis on manufacturability.
In December 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy announced their selection of NuScale Power to receive up to $217M of matching funds to support the further development of the design and to secure a Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The DOE Award was executed on May 27, 2014. This public-private partnership will help to accelerate the completion of the design, licensing, first-of-a-kind engineering, and testing, which will enable potential deployment of the first plant by late 2023.
In March 2014, NuScale Power LLC and Enercon Services Inc. (ENERCON) announced a new strategic partnership between the firms to support deployment of the NuScale Power Small Modular Reactor fleet worldwide. ENERCON provides engineering support to approximately 90% of the nuclear power plants operating in the United States and is also a leader in supporting deployment of new nuclear power plants. ENERCON will utilize its licensing expertise to support the development of the Design Certification Application.
In February 2015, NuScale Power announced that it successfully installed a full-length helical coil steam generator (HCSG) at the SIET S.p.A. (SIET) facilities in Piacenza, Italy. The NuScale design includes a first-of-a-kind HCSG for conversion of nuclear heat into process steam. That same month, NuScale Power and AREVA entered into an agreement for the performance of fuel design, testing and analysis services in support of NuScale’s Design Certification Application, using AREVA’s proven HTPTM fuel technology.
In March 2015, fabrication and assembly of a full-scale, upper module mockup of the NuScale Power Module was completed. The availability of a full-scale mockup with accurately sized and located components gives NuScale’s engineers important insights into the inspection and maintenance activities that are essential to plant operation.
In April 2015, NuScale launched its NuScale Diverse Energy Platform (NuDEP) highlighting its small modular reactor technology as the nuclear “plug-n-play” solution for providing reliable power to diverse applications.
In June 2015, responding to the President’s call to action to expand private sector investment in solutions to climate change, NuScale Power’s CEO John Hopkins participated in the White House Clean Energy Investment Summit at the White House.
In August 2015, NuScale Power hosted over 230 attendees at its NuScale Exposition (NuEx) in Corvallis, Oregon. A notable list of speakers, including government officials, industry representatives, and non-governmental organizations, emphasized the important environmental and economic benefits of NuScale’s baseload, carbon-free SMR technology.
In October 2015, NuScale Power and Ultra Electronics announced a new strategic partnership to support deployment of the NuScale Power Small Modular Reactor (SMR) fleet worldwide. The agreement brings Ultra Electronics’ expertise in reactor protection system design, nucleonic instrumentation, nuclear qualified sensors and associated in-core, specialty cabling to the NuScale design team.
In December 2015, NuScale Power and AREVA Inc. announced a contract for AREVA to manufacture fuel assemblies for NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology. Under the agreement, AREVA will supply the initial cores for the reactors as well as subsequent reloads.
In January 2016, NuScale Power announced the completion of a study commissioned from the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) supporting the suitability of NuScale’s world-leading Small Modular Reactor technology for the effective disposition of plutonium. The study evaluated scenarios with partial and full-core loading of mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel and confirmed that MOX could be used in the NuScale core with minimal effect on the reactor’s design and operation.
Leading U.S. nuclear Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology developer NuScale Power confirmed in March 2016, it will put its SMR forward as part of the competition launched by the UK Government to select the best value SMR for the UK. It also confirmed that talks with potential developers interested in deploying the technology in the UK in the 2020s are advancing, as are plans to put British nuclear engineering and advanced manufacturing at the forefront of that deployment.
Also in March 2016, AREVA Inc. and NuScale Power announced that the modified AREVA HTP-2 fuel design for NuScale’s SMR technology will be named NuFuel HTP2™. The announcement was made during NuScale’s tri-annual Advisory Board meeting (NuAB) in Corvallis, OR, and follows an agreement signed by the companies in December 2015 for AREVA to design and manufacture the fuel assemblies.
The central role of key British industrial players in NuScale Power’s ambitions to build a UK-U.S. partnership was underlined in July 2016 as Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) and NuScale announced they will work together to develop the manufacturing techniques that will be required for the future deployment of SMRs in the UK.
In August 2016, NuScale Power announced that it was beginning its selection of fabrication partners for the NuScale Power Module™ with NuFAB with a one-day, invitation only event for potential supply chain partners in Atlanta, Georgia. The event was to kick-off the selection process for qualified and capable manufacturers who could participate in fabrication of the NuScale Power Module. The event informed potential module fabrication partners of the selection process and provided key information with respect to supplier and partner expectations.
In a major step toward the deployment of the next generation of advanced nuclear technology, NuScale Power asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on December 31, 2016 to approve the company’s SMR commercial power plant design. This is the first-ever SMR DCA to be submitted to the NRC and marks a significant milestone for NuScale and the power generation industry.
In February 2017, the UK reaffirmed its position as a key player in a new generation of SMRs. Dorset-based Ultra Electronics, Nuclear Control Systems successfully conducted the acceptance testing of the innovative NuScale Power Module™ protection system it is developing for leading U.S. SMR developer NuScale Power. The UK-developed system will be critical to the operation of NuScale’s groundbreaking technology, which will generate clean, reliable, affordable power in both the U.S. and the UK.
In March 2017, NuScale Power received notification that NuScale’s first-ever Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Design Certification Application (DCA) was accepted for review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). By accepting the DCA for review, the NRC staff is confirming that NuScale’s submission addresses all NRC requirements and contains sufficient technical information to conduct the review.