Nuclear Regulatory Commission Directs Staff To Issue Final Rule Certifying NuScale SMR Design

July 31, 2022

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
July 31, 2022

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has directed its staff to issue a final rule that certifies NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) design for use in the U.S., the NRC said on July 29.

The certification’s effective date is 30 days after the NRC publishes the rule in the Federal Register.

NRC certification means the design meets the agency’s applicable safety requirements.

An application for a nuclear power plant combined license that references a certified design will not need to address any of the issues resolved by the design certification rule. Instead, the combined license application and the NRC’s safety review would address any remaining safety and environmental issues for the proposed nuclear power plant, the NRC said.

The design certification approves the NuScale reactor’s “design control document,” which is incorporated by reference in the final rule.

NuScale submitted an application to the NRC on Dec. 31, 2016, to certify the company’s SMR design for use in the United States. The NRC staff met its schedule goals for completing its technical review.

The design uses natural, “passive” processes such as convection and gravity in its operating systems and safety features, while producing up to approximately 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

The SMR’s 12 modules, each producing 50 MW, are all submerged in a safety-related pool built below ground level.

Carbon Free Power Project, LLC (CFPP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, continues to advance the development and deployment of its first-of-a-kind SMR nuclear plant at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho. 

CFPP successfully and safely completed field investigation activities at the site in January 2022, a major milestone for the project.  

The CFPP will deploy a NuScale power plant that is based on NuScale’s SMR technology.  

In May 2021, NuScale Power and Washington State’s Grant County Public Utility District announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the deployment of NuScale’s SMR technology in Central Washington State.

Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will jointly work to help develop small modular reactors (SMRs), TVA announced earlier this year.

The agreement allows TVA and OPG to coordinate their explorations into the design, licensing, construction and operation of small modular reactors.