Technology Validation

Validation by Customers and Industry Experts

Pressurized water-cooled reactors (PWRs) have benefitted from billions of dollars of research and development and millions of hours of operating experience over the past 50 years. While this R&D provides a strong foundation for NuScale technology, what enables NuScale to truly stand out is its cutting edge testing at state-of-the-art facilities worldwide, including:

  • NuScale Integral System Test (NIST-1) facility located at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon
  • Critical Heat Flux testing at Stern Laboratories in Hamilton, Ontario Canada
  • Helical Coil Steam Generator testing at SIET SpA in Piacenza, Italy
  • Fuels testing at AREVA’s Richland Test Facility (RTF) in Richland, Washington
  • Critical Heat Flux testing at AREVA’s KATHY loop in Karlstein, Germany
  • Control Rod Assembly (CRA) drop / shaft alignment testing at AREVA’s KOPRA facility in Erlangen, Germany
  • Steam Generator Flow Induced Vibration (FIV) testing at AREVA’s PETER Loop in Erlangen, Germany
  • Control Rod Assembly Guide Tube (CRAGT) FIV at AREVA’s MAGALY facility in Le Creusot, France
  • Information obtained from these tests is used to validate our thermal-hydraulic and design computer models used to predict the thermal efficiency, performance, and safety of NuScale’s SMR

Domestic Testing

NIST-1 Integral Testing Facility

NuScale has designed and built an exclusive access, one-third scale, state-of-the-art, electrically-heated prototype test facility, the NuScale Integral System Test (NIST-1) facility located at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. The NIST-1 facility provides NuScale with a tremendous advantage for modular prototype testing. The one-third scale prototype replicates the entire NuScale Power Module and reactor building cooling pool. It provides an electrically heated core to bring the system up to operating temperature and pressure. Stability testing ensures that throughout the expected operating conditions, natural circulation is stable.

The facility has demonstrated the viability of NuScale Power’s SMR, and provides an enhanced representation of NuScale’s current reactor design. NIST includes a new data acquisition and control system and extensive instrumentation additions which provide the measurements necessary for safety code and reactor design validation. 

International Testing

SIET Separate Effects and Prototype Steam Generator Testing

NuScale’s SMR uses compact, highly efficient helical coil steam generators (HCSGs) with many proprietary design features. NuScale contracted with the Società Informazioni Esperienze Termoidrauliche (SIET) in Piacenza, Italy to obtain test data to validate HCSG design under conditions that result from natural circulation flows in the NuScale reactor coolant system. Tests, completed in early 2014, focused on the secondary side performance and consisted of an electrically-headed, highly instrumented, full-length 3-tube bundle. The second test, completed in 2015, focused on overall primary and secondary side performance and consisted of a prototypic tube bank (252-tube bundle) operated at prototypic primary and secondary flow conditions.

Thermal-Hydraulic and Mechanical Testing of Preliminary and Final Fuel Designs

NuScale’s SMR uses natural circulation driven flows in the reactor coolant system to provide reliable core heat removal during normal plant operation and for accident conditions. To obtain critical heat flux (CHF) test data suitable to validate the fuel bundle design, NuScale completed a major test program for its preliminary fuel design at Stern Laboratories in Ontario, Canada. Testing was conducted over a wide range of natural circulation flow rates and pressures with both uniform and non-uniform power profiles. Results from the Stern testing has been used to characterize NuScale’s SMR performance margin and to inform design optimizations and testing of the final fuel design.

Testing of the final fuel design has been completed at the AREVA KATHY multifunction thermal-hydraulic test loop in Karlstein, Germany. This facility tested both steady-state and transient thermal-hydraulic behavior of the fuel assemblies.

Thermal-hydraulic fuel testing requirements extend beyond the need for CHF characterization, and the AREVA Richland Test Facility has been employed to complete lift-off, pressure drop, and hydraulic characterization of the final fuel design. Additionally, mechanical testing of the new fuel design has been conducted at the Richland Test Facility to measure the physical capabilities of the design under different seismic conditions

Control Rod Assembly and Drive Shaft Drop Alignment Test

Prototypes of the NuScale control rod assembly, guide tube, supports and fuel assembly have been fabricated and shipped to the AREVA GmbH test site in Erlangen, Germany. Fabrication of prototypic drive shaft is in process. The tests will measure the CRA insertion rate under different operational conditions. 

Flow Induced Vibration Tests

NuScale has enlisted SIET, and Premier Technologies to fabricate and perform helical coil steam generator flow induced vibration (FIV) tests. The goal will be to determine natural frequencies and mode shapes of prototypic tubes and supports. Tests will also characterize dynamic pressure fluctuations, tube stresses/strains and tube support stresses/strains. Valuable steam generator assembly and manufacturing insights will be obtained.

Steam Generator Tube Inspection Feasibility Study

A feasibility study was completed by NuScale to evaluate the use of eddy current probes to inspect the NuScale helical coil steam generator tubes. Specifically, the ability of a conventional probe system to traverse the NuScale Helical Coil SG design was addressed. Helical coils with prototypic lengths, diameters, curvatures and inclination angles were traversed using a conventional eddy probe system, indicating acceptable insertion capability of a conventional eddy probe system.