For the first time, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has certified a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) design for use in power plants.
The design, created by Oregon-based NuScale Power, consists of a light-water reactor that can generate up to 50 MW of power. The promise of small-scale reactor modules, according to proponents, is that they can be largely assembled offsite and delivered to the plant site, where the number of reactors can be scaled according to the power needs. For example, NuScale’s proposed VOYGR power plants can encompass either four, six, or 12 SMRs, generating up to 924 MW of electricity. Ideally, the standardized fabrication and assembly can cut costs, while the power could be used as a backup for more variable electric supply from renewables like wind and solar.
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