On December 31, 2016, NuScale Power submitted the first ever Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Design Certification Application (DCA) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Our application consisted of 12,000 pages of technical information. In March 2017, NuScale Power was notified by the NRC that its SMR DCA was accepted for review — confirming that our submission addressed all NRC requirements and contained sufficient technical information to conduct the review. The NRC has targeted completing the certification process by January 2021.
NuScale was a pioneer in the pre-application NRC engagement, having begun the process in July 2008. NuScale met with the NRC more than 250 times and submitted 15 topical reports to the NRC—engaging the NRC on topics such as safety analysis, nuclear fuel, test programs, seismic analysis, and control room staffing. As a result of this pre-application engagement, the NRC had greater design familiarity with our innovative design. These discussions increased efficiencies with regard to the NRC review of NuScale SMR and power plant.
While the DCA review process is underway, NuScale expects one or more applicants to file a combined construction and operation license application (COLA) in 2019, allowing the DCA and COLA review processes to proceed on parallel paths. The design certified by the NRC will be incorporated in each of the COL’s. This supports the likely commercial dates of interest in the marketplace.
The Regulatory Approval Process and NuScale’s SMR
NuScale’s SMR design addresses NRC licensing requirements with two distinct advantages. First, NuScale’s SMR is designed with fewer systems and demonstrates singular simplicity. Second, the elegantly simple NuScale plant provides greater levels of safety that translate into larger operating margins and more flexible design solutions for support systems.
Besides the pre-application engagement with the NRC, NuScale Power had other resources available to bring certainty to the design certification process. The NuScale Integral System Test (NIST) facility was designed and built to assist in the verification and validation of key analytical tools and assumptions. NuScale Power also has a main control room simulator which demonstrates the robustness of the NuScale design under transient conditions and will aid in the development of Human Factors analyses and address operational issues.
Regulatory Procedures and Timeline
The first NuScale 12-module reference plant in Idaho is expected to be fully operational by 2027.
Search NRC ADAMS for information NuScale has submitted to the NRC and their correspondence back.
Read about the NuScale project on NRC’s website.