History of the NuScale Power Technology
Starting in 2000, the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) 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
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) 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 45 MWe 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.