The Latest on NuScale’s U.S. and International Regulatory Engagement
In our winter issue of NUCLEUS, NuScale shared the exciting news that we cleared Phase 4 of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) review of our design certification application (DCA). This means that the technical review by the NRC is essentially complete and that the final design approval is expected on schedule by September 2020. NuScale’s customer, the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), is planning a 12-module NuScale power plant at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site in Idaho Falls for its Carbon Free Power Project. The first module is expected to be operational by mid-2029, with the remaining 11 modules to come online for full plant operation by 2030.
The upcoming completion of the DCA review is an extremely important milestone not only for NuScale, but also for the NRC and U.S. government, as it will clearly establish the U.S.’s leadership in the race to bring SMRs to market. NuScale’s will be the only NRC-approved SMR nuclear power plant to bring affordable, reliable, carbon-free electricity to the homes of everyday Americans by the middle of this decade.
NuScale is engaged with the NRC in the pre-application stages for our Standard Design Approval (SDA) submission. NuScale determined that an SDA provides the best approach to incorporate design changes. The SDA allows us to leverage a mark-up of the approved DCA to focus the NRC’s review on proposed design changes, and, similar to a DCA, it can be incorporated into a customer’s combined license application (COLA). These changes include those related to the power uprate, and value engineering design changes that reduce cost of the plant and accelerate the construction schedule. We created a comprehensive and detailed plan and schedule for completion of all engineering to support various upcoming regulatory and design initiatives including SDA, our customers’ COLAs, and Standard Plant Design.
NuScale is also broadening its international regulatory engagement. We created a new international licensing section within our Regulatory Affairs department to work with regulators across the globe. In December 2019, NuScale completed the first submittal of its Vendor Design Review (VDR) to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). NuScale’s submission is a combined Phase 1 and 2 level VDR, as the company’s SMR design is mature and can directly enter VDR Phase 2. The remaining three submittals will be conducted at approximately six month intervals. NuScale’s VDR submittal is significant due to the recently announced NRC-CNSC collaboration to increase the efficiency of the technical reviews of SMR technologies like ours. Our expected DCA approval by the NRC in September of this year, along with progress through the VDR process in Canada, will no doubt benefit the already strong position of NuScale to introduce our SMR technology to Canadian customers and expand into a broader North America market.