Resilient To Electromagnetic Threats
Resilience requires having the capacity to not only withstand a variety of risks and challenges, but to also quickly recover from them. Built for resilience, the NuScale Power Module™ nuclear power plant design incorporates several simple, redundant, and independent safety features—setting a new standard for nuclear safety performance and offering unparalleled system resilience.
Nuclear power plants already play an important role in grid resiliency by serving as a reliable source of baseload power. Our advanced small modular reactor (SMR) technology enhances resilience with the capacity to both withstand and recover from natural and human-made threats. Potential electromagnetic threats to both U.S. and global grid infrastructure include natural solar-induced geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) and human-made electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks. To remain resilient in the face of an EMP or a GMD, a power plant must be able to provide reliable power during and after exposure.
We have thoroughly evaluated our SMR plant systems to ensure that they can respond to and quickly recover from these threats. With Black Start capability, a NuScale SMR plant can start up from cold conditions without the aid of external grid power. For a nuclear plant, this is a one-of-a-kind capability that is exclusive to NuScale, allowing it to provide First Responder power to the transmission system grid, and continue to provide, under a micro grid arrangement, reliable power to critical infrastructure such as medical and defense facilities, digital data storage centers, and other industrial processes and mission-critical installations. Additional NuScale power plant features that ensure resilience include:
- Structural Components: NuScale SMRs reside within containment vessels comprised of multiple layers of high-strength, corrosion-resistant steel. The reactor building is comprised of several-foot thick concrete walls reinforced with steel rebar, which can block an electromagnetic field. All NuScale sensor cables penetrate the SMR containment vessel at a single location (the top plate of the containment vessel), to reduce the potential EMP pathway.
- Fiber Optics: Fiber optic cables are immune to EMPs, and NuScale power plants use underground fiber optic lines between the Reactor Building and the Control Building, and for a variety of important communication and other system needs.
- Built-in Redundancy: In a NuScale power plant, each SMR is connected to its own dedicated turbine generator set. In addition, the plant includes an Auxiliary AC Power Source, two 2 MWe backup diesel generators to initiate the Black Start process should a catastrophic loss of power occur, multiple main power transformers and unit auxiliary transformers, and redundant backup battery banks.
- Island Mode Operation: Island Mode provides rapid recovery to full power following an EMP event. This NuScale plant capability allows a single SMR module to carry the house loads for the entire plant. SMRs continue to run safely so that the plant can serve as a First Responder power source, providing power in 77 MWe increments as portions of the transmission system are restored.
These illustrate just a few of the revolutionary features of the advanced nuclear technology that make our power plants the most reliable and resilient in the world.